Wits University Football Club could make a sensational comeback
Wits University Football Club could make a sensational return to the professional ranks to keep alive the historic name and heritage of the 99-year-old side.
The club was called Bidvest Wits for sponsorship reasons until the services, trading and distribution group last month sold the premiership status of the club to Limpopo businessman Masala Mulaudzi to bring to an end to a 15-year partnership.
The sale threatened to plunge the oldest football club in the country into total obscurity after Mulaudzi confirmed he will relocate the team 435km north of Johannesburg and rename it Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC (TTM), which will assume the premiership status of Bidvest Wits next season.
However, Wits University spokesperson Shirona Patel told TimesLIVE the varsity is looking at various options to keep the rich name of the football club alive and enrol it in the professional ranks.
“Wits University Football Club has always been a part of the university’s history, and it will continue to be so,” Patel told TimesLIVE this week. “The university plans to continue to build on this history and offer its students the opportunity to express their sporting abilities at the highest levels possible.”
Patel said the strictly amateur Wits University Football Club, with more than 20 teams in various age groups, existed separately from Bidvest Wits FC and will continue to do so.
That amateur Wits University FC served as a feeder team to the official development structure of Bidvest Wits.
The university would be aiming to establish a professional Wits University FC, and it's not clear if that would have ties to the existing amateur structure, though the feeder nature of the relationship would probably be preserved.
Patel would not be drawn into whether the university was planning to look for investors to enrol Wits University Football Club in a professional league.
Options available to the university include finding a sponsor and buying a top-flight status in the Absa Premiership or second-tier GladAfrica Championship.
The semi-professional third tier ABC Motsepe provincial league is another option.