A professional team participating in the top division of the Premier Soccer League
A reserve team participating in the PSL Reserve League
An Under 19 (Colts) team participating in the SAFA Colts league
5 Student and amateur teams participating in various amateur Gauteng leagues
A development section consisting of 17 teams from Under 6 to Under 17
Three divisions of student teams consisting of a total of 28 teams
Two divisions of accounting graduates’ teams consisting of 20 teams
A ladies’ team participating in the tertiary education institutions competitions
We aim to achieve the following:
To strive for success in competitions, particularly at professional level.
To provide opportunities for both students and non-students of all races and ages to play football at all levels.
To conduct the Club’s affairs with honesty, integrity and dignity.
To run a development programme that provides the highest quality of coaching at all levels so that players may be empowered to advance themselves through the sport.
To administer the Club along professional business lines so as to maximise profits which may then be fed back into further development and infrastructure building.
To support the education and career development of our playing, coaching and administrative staff through bursaries and grants to attend courses, schools, colleges, and the University of the Witwatersrand.
The Soccer Club was formed in 1921 when the Students Representative Council eventually succumbed to pressure that had been coming from students at the Transvaal Technical Institute (the forerunner of the University). The Club’s three teams participated in the League for the first time in 1922, the same year as the University of the Witwatersrand was formed.
Having won the Transvaal Second Division in its first year, the Club was promoted to the First Division in 1923. This glory was short-lived however, and the Club was relegated at the end of the season. Things got steadily worse, and the Club was soon languishing in the Third Division.
In 1930, eight years after the Club was formed, the first team played its first match on grass!
By 1930 the Club had formed an Under 20 team, the start of the now famous youth policy. Also by this time the senior team had secured a place in the First Division of the Witwatersrand League.
The first major success of the youth policy came about in 1938 when eighteen year old Trefor Roberts was selected for the Southern Transvaal Senior team which toured Mocambique.
The first major trophy was won in 1943 when the Club won the Southern Transvaal First Division title.
Intervarsity soccer started in 1948, with the tournament being hosted by Cape Town University. Wits University went on to win the trophy with their toughest opposition coming in a 2-1 win against Natal in extremely muddy conditions.
The National Football League, the first professional league in the country, was formed in 1959. It was to be 17 years later that Wits would finally earn a place in the NFL First Division.
The Club made it to the NFL Second Division in 1961, playing as an amateur team.
Unfortunately the club still suffered with poor training facilities, no lights, and no official coach. Unsurprisingly the Club was relegated to the Third Division for the 1963 season. The only good thing about 1962 was that it heralded the arrival of Ronnie Schloss who has gone on to serve the Club in various positions from then until today – an unbroken stint of 38 years!
In 1963 Wits won promotion to the Second Division, where they stayed until they finally gained promotion in 1975, under the guidance of Eddie Lewis.
The Club’s facilities had by now grown to include the magnificent development centre at Marks Park that has five floodlit fields and a central complex consisting of change-rooms, lounge area, shop and storage facilities. In addition the club acquired a compact but high quality stadium within the University grounds that serves as home venue for matches of the professional team, as well as two outside grounds on the campus.
The Clubs first big star product arrived as a first year student in 1975 and immediately made a strong impression. Gary Bailey went on to play for Manchester United and received his first England cap in March 1985.
At the end of 1977 the NFL broke up and Wits joined the National Professional Soccer League for the 1978 season.
That year went on to become one of the most memorable in the Club’s history with the momentous win over Kaizer Chiefs to clinch the Mainstay Cup. The Club also finished second in the league behind Lusitano.
1978 also saw the formation of the Wits University Junior Football Club, which at that time had teams from Under 10 to Under 19.
Richard Gough represented the club in 1979. Gough went on to be a Scottish International, and represent clubs in the United Kingdom such as Everton and Glasgow Rangers.
Eddie Lewis resigned after a poor season in 1979, and was succeeded by Mike Kenning in 1980. He lead the Club to a very creditable third place behind Kaizer Chiefs.
The Club’s next major trophy was won in 1984 when Wits won the BP Top Eight under new coach Julie Kaplan. Amazingly the Club’s fortunes took a dive during the season, and Mike Kenning was recalled to take over the coaching later that year.
1985 saw Mike Kenning take the students to a JPS Knockout Final win against Kaizer Chiefs in a tie that went to three matches.
At the end of 1985 came the formation of The National Soccer League after a breakaway from the NPSL. Wits also replaced Mike Kenning with Joe Frickleton as coach, only to see Joe resign later in the 1986 season. He was followed by Terry Paine who took charge for the 1987 season.
Two more products of the Under 19 team, Zoran Ilic and Zane Moosa, excelled in 1987. They were both selected for the squad from which the South African XI was chosen to play against an “Overseas XI”. Zane went on to be named as captain of the Country’s Under 23 team, and Zoran was named the Wits Player of the Year.
In 1988 Terry Paine resigned to take up a post at Coventry, and his place was taken by John Lathan.
The next major trophies were to come in 1995 when Wits won both the BP Top 8 and the Coca Cola Cup under John Lathan, who was by this time serving his second period as coach.
In the interim most of the honours were being gained by the Under 16, Colts and Intervarsity teams. In 1983 the Under 16′s played in an International tournament in Germany, where they finished third after losing the semi-final on penalties. In 1985 they went to Avignon in France and won an international tournament that featured club teams from most of Europe’s leading countries. The intervarsity team won ten out of eleven consecutive tournaments, and both the Colts and Under 16′s won the league and cup doubles three times in a row.
Also during this period the Junior Club introduced Under 6′s and Under 7′s, and the internal university leagues grew in leaps and bounds. Several amateur teams were formed to cater for students who were not selected for the professional or reserve teams, and for those wishing only to play “social” soccer.
1996 saw the professional team drop dangerously low in the League table of the newly formed Premier Soccer League. It was only through a spirited win in the last game of the season against Jomo Cosmos that the Club’s status in the top division was maintained.
In 1997 Investec took over the sponsorship of the Club from Richleigh Shoes, signing a three year contract that included substantial amounts for bursaries. The club was already on the road to recovery after the rocky 95/96 season, and finished a comfortable 12th place in the league.
In 1998 the Club’s Under 17 team won the USA Cup, a prestigious International youth tournament. Ashley Makhanya was also chosen to captain the National Under 23 team. 1998 also saw the Club finish in an impressive 8th place.
The 1998/99 season saw the club make good progress in both the Rothmans Cup (quarter finalists) and the Bob Save Super Bowl (semi finalists) although they only finished 11th in the final PSL standings.
In 1999/00, John Lathan’s hardworking Wits side finished in an outstanding 5th place in the league, lead by captain Peter Gordon, who played over 400 times for the club and was capped twice by Bafana Bafana.
2000/01 was a lower year for the Students, under Scottish coach Jim Bone. The Club finished in a disappointing 13th place in the league. But with the installment of former South African goalkeeper Roger de Sa as new head coach at the start of the 2001/02 season, the team’s fortunes changed once again, as they were lead to a strong 7th placed finish in the PSL.
The Wits youth policy continued to roll out young talents. Midfielder Stanton Fredericks and goalkeeper Rowan Fernandez were soon on the shortlists of South Africa’s most famous club, Kaizer Chiefs, and were sold to Chiefs in mid-2001. Midfielder Josta Dladla was also receiving attention for his remarkable playmaking prowess, and was eventually sold to Danish Premier League club AGF Aarhuis at the end of the 2001/02 campaign.
In 2002, the club announced that the BidVest Group were taking over sponsorship of the club, while Danish company Hummel would take over as technical sponsor. Later that year, former midfielder Stanton Fredericks made his first appearance for South Africa, and joined only a handful of players to have scored on debut for Bafana Bafana. Meanwhile, defenders Ashley Makhanya and Tony Coyle both earned their first caps for the national team.
The 2002/03 season turned out to be one of Wits’ best ever campaigns with ‘The Clever Boys’ going on a run of 14 league matches unbeaten over the New Year period to eventually finish third on the PSL table. The side also saw several players receive national call-ups including the club’s brilliant center-back Tony Coyle and promising midfielder Benson Mhlongo.
After another strong third placed finish in 2003/04, it seemed the club’s fortunes were looking up, only for a dismal 2004/05 campaign to see the side relegated to the Mvela Golden League and De Sa replaced by former Santos and Maritzburg United coach Boebie Solomons, assisted by former Bafana Bafana midfielder Eric Tinkler. The Solomons-Tinkler combination restored order to the ranks and the Clever Boys managed to secure the Mvela Golden League title, and an immediate return the country’s top flight.
The first year back in the PSL was a very strange season with the clever boys lying in the top three at the half way mark, but slumping badly in the second half to finish 13th in the table
Bidvest Wits Academy opened its doors on Wednesday 2012-01-18 after a two month well deserved Christmas break for the young Clever Boys. The Bidvest Academy and staff welcomed back twenty nine Clever Boys. The break down of the twenty nine Clever Boys works out to be twenty under 18 boys and nine of which are [...]
I was always taught as a kid if you do something, do it right. If not, go do something else. For me, soccer was life.
~ Marcelo Balboa
I have the chance to do for a living what I like the most in life, and that's playing football. I can make people happy and enjoy myself at the same time
I don’t believe skill was, or ever will be, the result of coaches. It is a result of a love affair between the child and the ball.
~ Roy Keane
Every kid around the world who plays soccer wants to be Pele. I have a great responsibility to show them not just how to be like a soccer player, but how to be like a man.
Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I'm very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that
~ Bill Shankly
Whatever happens, there are always things you could have done better. You score two goals and you usually feel you could have scored a third. That's perfectionism. That's what makes you progress in life.
~ Eric Cantona
Soccer is simple, but it is difficult to play simple.