May 10, 2021

Bidvest Wits undermined as football institution by sale – Fredericks

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The Clever Boys will not exist beyond the current campaign and this hasn’t sat well with one of the club legends

Stanton Fredericks has broken his silence about the sale of Bidvest Wits, who were purchased by Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivandila (TTM) boss Masala Mulaudzi and will relocate to Limpopo ahead of the 2020-21 PSL season. 

The Students were going to celebrate 100 years of existence in 2021, and this, coupled with how the management handled the sale, is what makes it very difficult for Fredericks to accept that the club will not exist beyond the current campaign. 

Reports that Mulaudzi was close to buying Wits surfaced in early June but the management dismissed it as a rumour until the middle of the month when everyone working for the club was called to an urgent meeting, including coach Gavin Hunt. 

Subsequently, the club released an official statement confirming the news and Fredericks believes the club’s hierarchy handled it badly.  

“A very difficult decision [to accept], especially for myself because I grew up with Bidvest Wits… it was Wits University back then. I played for the junior team, I made it my debut there and I eventually came full circle and I retired there,” Fredericks told Goal.

“The difficult part is that this is a team that’s going to be 100 years old… I think just the way the sale was announced, it’s difficult to accept because it has downplayed Wits as a football institution.

“You know the history of development… look at world football, you have Ajax Amsterdam that would feed the world with quality,” he said.  

Fredericks, who had two stints with Wits during his playing days, feels the club didn’t only sell its PSL status but a rich history where generations of players were produced. 

And he questioned the seriousness of those in charge of clubs in preserving the history of football in South Africa.   

“If you look at South Africa, that’s Wits University and eventually it became Ajax Cape Town. The institution of football in this country that has been sold for next to nothing and it’s really difficult to accept and how serious is football being take in our country,” continued Fredericks.  

“Tomorrow, we’d find out that the likes of Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates are sold, it’s generations that are being erased.

“So, for me, I might come across a bit emotional but it’s certainly impacting me personally. I am not happy, it’s not sitting well with me.”