Zimbabwe/South Africa: Bunjira's Heartbreak Over Wits Collapse

8 September 2020

FORMER Zimbabwe international forward, Alois Bunjira, has been shattered by the boardroom events which have led to the disbanding of his old club, Bidvest Wits.

The South African Premiership club's franchise has been sold to Tshakhuma Tha Madzivhandila.

The Students had been part of the South African football scene for 99 years.

They were set to celebrate their century at the time the club's franchise was sold.

Bunjira spent six years at the team after moving to South Africa at the turn of the millennium. "I was heartbroken when I heard about the Tshakuma acquisition and name change," he told The Herald.

"What makes it sad is that this happened only a year before the club celebrated 100 years of existence. And, all of a sudden, that history is thrown away.

"I still feel Bidvest should have sold the club to someone who would preserve the club history, just like they did when they bought the club from the University of Witwatersrand."

Bunjira says he was emotionally attached to the club.

"When I arrived in South Africa I joined QwaQwa Stars, which was based in Free State in the rural areas," he said.

"Wits University bought me just three months after I arrived in South Africa.

"It became my home for good six years before I moved to Mamelodi Sundowns.

"The club looked after me very well, including giving me a bursary.

"They paid for my accommodation, throughout my stay at the club, and the management was world-class.

"I learnt a lot about time management and football management from then team Derek Blanckensee. I regard him as the best football administrator that I have ever seen in my footballing life.

"The office staff, led by Sue Bowen, was fantastic. Sue looked after me like her own sibling.

"For, me this club was the most professional club I have ever been to or seen.

"When Bidvest took over the club, it even got better. It was one of the best clubs to be at.

"I made great friends at Wits University and I can never forget the great players and friends I played with at the club such as Benson Mhlongo, Josta Dadla and Rowen Fernandez, to mention just a few."

Bunjira and other Zimbabwean players had a base at the club which had a love affair with footballers from this country.

Charles Yohane holds the club's record, as the most capped player, after he featured in 268 matches, from 1997 to 2006.

"My best friend at the club was Charles Yohane," said Bunjira.

"Elasto Kapowezha, Stewart Murisa, Henry McKop, Nelson Bandura, at one time were my teammates."

Kaizer Chiefs legend Tinashe Nengomasha had his swansong season, in the South African Premiership, at the club.

Onesimo Bhasera, Evans Chikwaikwai,Thomas Sweswe and Denver Mukamba also had a stint with the club.

Cuthbert Malajila won the league with Wits in the 2016-2017 season.

Former Ngezi striker Terrence Dzvukamanja and defenders Maclive Phiri and Farai Madhananga are on the club's books.

Meanwhile, club captain, Thulani "Tyson" Hlatshwayo, has saluted his coach Gavin Hunt as both men look to join new teams.

Hlatshwayo has joined Orlando Pirates while Hunt has emerged as the leading candidate to take over at Kaizer Chiefs.

Wits finished in fourth place.

"He (Gavin Hunt) is a coach that has a lot of character and toughness, he is hard to impress and he made sure that he always pushes the guys to their limit," Hlatshwayo told the South African Football Journalists Association.

"For as captain ,having that same heart, my job was to push the guys and make sure that we finish as high as we can.

"Knowing that the team would not exist anymore, it's easy for us to have been sluggish and play just for the sake of playing, but all we did was to make sure that we repay what the game has done for each of us and make sure that we bid farewell in a good way.

"We would have liked to be in the Nedbank Cup final and win all the trophies and for me personally to be able to win each and every trophy available for the team that has been good to me.

"I prefer not to comment right now (about his move to Pirates) because I'm at home relaxing with family, so that's what I prefer to do."

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