PSL needs Wits & Celtic
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.