FT 2019 Preview: From relegation threat to champions, will the Clever Boys go the distance?

Sticking to their trusted gaffer, Gavin Hunt, they strung through a series of impressive performances in the closing stages eventually managing a 13th place finish. Now, it’s all happening again, they are back to riches from rags, three points clear at the summit – midway through the season.
— Dennis Takaendesa, FirstTouch Africa

Nothing defines the ABSA Premiership like the word drama. Title winning miracles such as those pulled off by Leicester City are almost the order of the day in the South African League. Quite recently, what we had predicted for the season is all in vain by reason of the ever exciting unexpected turn of events that don’t just want to take a break.

Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi holds aloft the premiership trophy after winning the Absa Premiership Final match between Orlando Pirates and the Golden Arrows at Orlando Stadium on May 21, 2011 in Soweto, South Africa.  (May 20, 2011 - Source: Gallo Images/Getty Images Europe)

Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi holds aloft the premiership trophy after winning the Absa Premiership Final match between Orlando Pirates and the Golden Arrows at Orlando Stadium on May 21, 2011 in Soweto, South Africa.

(May 20, 2011 - Source: Gallo Images/Getty Images Europe)

The witty coach, the ever philosophical Steve Komphela whom we thought could eventually win some silverware at Bloemfontein Celtic, resigned just six months into his job blindsiding Phunya Sele Sele. A presumably leaked resignation letter circulating on social media reveals working conditions and a lack of professionalism as the reasons for him quitting. On the other hand, Soweto is black as Kaizer Chiefs’ problems cannot seem to go away as their losing run to rivals, Pirates have now reached a disturbing one win in ten match ups. More interestingly are the prospects of the Students, otherwise known as the Clever Boys. Bidvest Wits survived a major scare last season, spending the better half of the campaign rooted in bottom position, that was after winning the championship in the previous season, the 2016/17 campaign. Sticking to their trusted gaffer, Gavin Hunt, they strung through a series of impressive performances in the closing stages eventually managing a 13th place finish. Now, it’s all happening again, they are back to riches from rags, three points clear at the summit – midway through the season.

They have second best defensive record, conceding only 9 in 15 matches and their unmatched scoring prowess has seen them go ahead of the likes of defending champions, Sundowns and the hungry Ghost of Soweto in Pirates who last won the title in the 2011-12 season. It promises to be an exhilarating spectacle and 2019 will show us the winners of the race.

It’s the determined Students going all out with the vengeful Ghost while the prideful Sundowns sit on the sidelines, whereas Matsatsantsa (SuperSport United) and Polokwane City await an opportunity to intrude.