The Bidvest Wits Academy started operating in January of 2009. It was the brainchild of then CEO Stan Whiting and 1st team (PSL) head coach Roger de Sa, and was supervised by Eric Tinkler at the time of opening. We are proud to have reached the 10-year milestone and to have made a significant contribution in many people’s lives.
In the last ten years we have produced many players for PSL, NFD and European teams as well as for the SAFA national teams. Lebogang Phiri, who is one of many shining lights to have come out of the academy, recently scored his first Bafana Bafana goal in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on the 17th of November 2019. He was coincidentally part of the first group that started the academy.
The vision of this academy continues to be to produce players of the highest standard. It was established to internally produce players that are fully capable of playing for the PSL side. The academy strives for excellence in the technical, tactical and physical development of the player. In order to achieve this, the academy houses, cares for and provides the players with a high standard of coaching and education to help them fulfil their potential.
In its inception the academy started with the Bid Boys Team – which played in the SAFA 2nd division (then Vodacom League) – in June 2008, and the U/17’s in January 2009. January 2009 also marked the establishment of the academy dormitory which housed both Bid Boys and U-17 players. In 2010 the U/15 team was added and by 2011 the U/19 side was also a part of the structure. In 2014 the academy added an U/13 side in conjunction with our affiliate club Wits Juniors which was based at Marks Park but is now fully established at Sturrock Park alongside all other youth teams.
From 2008 to 2019, Bid Boys acted as the bridge between youth football and the PSL Team. The advent of the 30 game MDC Reserve league necessitated the disbanding of the Bid Boys team. In its ten years of existence Bid Boys produced two PSL Player and Player’s Player of the Season winners in Tefu Mashamaite and Sibusiso Vilakazi, in addition to countless other PSL players.
It is now five years since we have incorporated the U13 group into the structure. One of the first debutants of that group, Rowan Human, is currently (as of February 2020) the club’s leading goal scorer in the MDC, has captained the U-20 National Team to a silver medal at the 2019 Cosafa U-20 Men’s Championships and has made his PSL debut for the club.
Many players have benefitted from the academy’s educational programme. Today they possess undergraduate and postgraduate degrees as well as master’s qualifications from various institutions of higher learning.
The Bidvest Group is the bedrock of the success achieved by The Academy both on and off the field. It is with great hope and anticipation that we look forward to a bright future for Bidvest Wits Football Club and The Academy.