PSL needs Wits & Celtic

Kick Off - - FROM THE EDITOR - Zola Doda The Ed­i­tor

In the last few weeks, we have seen and read a lot of un­con­firmed re­ports about the pos­si­ble sale of Bloem­fontein Celtic and Bid­vest Wits. The Celtic ru­mours started as early as last sea­son with cur­rent owner Max Tsha­bal­ala not deny­ing that he was in­deed sell­ing the club or look­ing for new buy­ers due to fi­nan­cial con­straints.

But the Wits talks – which have been ve­he­mently de­nied by the club – is some­thing that has been hit­ting the newswires as re­cently as the be­gin­ning of the lock­down. And the talks of key play­ers – Deon Hotto and cap­tain Thu­lani Hlatshwayo – mov­ing on to greener pas­tures added more fuel to the fire.

There is no deny­ing that the world econ­omy has come un­der se­vere strain in the last few months due to the COVID-19, the likes of which we have never seen be­fore in mod­ern times.

And the PSL – like other eco­nomic sec­tors – has not been ex­empted; it has also been severely af­fected.

But no mat­ter how tough the sit­u­a­tion is, for the fu­ture of the PSL we need a stronger Bloem­fontein Celtic and Bid­vest Wits in or­der for our league to re­main com­pet­i­tive.

It will not be ben­e­fi­cial to any­one if our league be­comes like the Scot­tish Premier League that is dom­i­nated by two clubs – Glas­gow Celtic and Rangers – sea­son in, sea­son out.

Out­side the so-called ‘Big Three’, Bloem­fontein Celtic and Wits are two of the strong­est teams in the League and they both bring some­thing dif­fer­ent to the ta­ble.

With their unique green and white colour­ful sup­port­ers, Celtic is the oxy­gen of the PSL. They bring love, pas­sion, hap­pi­ness, and joy at PSL matches some­thing that very few clubs can boast.

Home and away, their sup­port­ers t are al­ways l in i the stands singing and bring­ing fun to the game. If the club would cease to ex­ist, it will make the PSL weaker.

Wits on the other hand won the Ned­bank Cup in 2010 and the League ti­tle as re­cent as the 2016/17 cam­paign – for the first time in 96 years. Backed by Bid­vest, coach Gavin Hunt built a pow­er­ful team strong enough to take on any club and their suc­cess was a breath of fresh air.

Be­tween 1986 to 1994 the old NSL was dom­i­nated by Kaizer Chiefs, Or­lando Pi­rates and Mamelodi Sun­downs, with Moroka Swal­lows, AmaZulu and Jomo Cos­mos nick­ing a few tro­phies here and there.

Top goalscor­ers – with all due re­spect – were hit­ting the back of the net left, right and cen­tre against goal­keep­ers not strong enough to light Ernesto ‘Che’ Gue­vara’s ci­gar. The NSL, in the few years lead­ing up to the for­ma­tion of the PSL, lacked that com­pet­i­tive edge from the so-called smaller clubs.

The emer­gence of Cape Town Spurs (who later be­came Ajax Cape Town), Man­ning Rangers, Su­perS­port United, and with the res­ur­rec­tion of San­tos and Wits, the league be­came more com­pet­i­tive out­side the big three.

League ti­tles and Cups were no longer a for­gone con­clu­sion for the Big Three, and this was good for the dig­nity of the league.

And now with talks of Celtic and Wits be­ing sold is a cause for con­cern. The PSL needs the two clubs to be strong and what­ever fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties are be­ing re­ported in the me­dia, hope­fully they can be re­solved with­out the clubs be­ing sold or sell­ing their best play­ers.

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