Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) FC, the name that’s been on everyone’s lips in the past couple of days. They’ve been trending and become a buzzword thanks to their ‘official announcement’, breaking news that they’ve bought Bidvest Wits’ Absa Premiership status.
While there’s nothing wrong with the sale, bad news as it is that one of the oldest teams has become subject of speculation and is on the brink of going into the doldrums of history, there’s everything wrong with amateurish behaviour and conduct that’s been displayed by the GladAfrica Championship side since the news broke. First of all, the manner in which the announcement was handled leaves much to be desired! For the club’s Chief Operations Officer, Sello Chokoe, to run to the media to tell Wits coach, Gavin Hunt, to start looking for a job, obviously not in so many words, was downright disrespectful! This is someone who has done so much for South African football and even won Wits their first league title in over 90 years, for crying out loud! For TTM to announce that they won’t afford him when the league hasn’t even approved the purchase of the status yet, let alone taking over the running of Wits, is both barbaric and childish.
The club has also been making noise about the futures of some of Wits’ players when, once again, the players, technical team, management, and everyone at Wits have not even been informed officially about the future of the club. Once again, there’s nothing wrong with TTM purchasing Wits when the status has been made available, but the conduct leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. This attitude puts the league into disrepute and I wouldn’t be surprised if TTM are left with a huge egg on their face when their purchase of Wits is not approved by the PSL’s executive committee. It would come as no surprise if their official announcement results in yet another false alarm as it was the case with a consortium that was looking to buy Free State Stars in an attempt to revive Moroka Swallows. Just like it is the case now, back then the would-be buyers made all the noise in the media without following the protocol.
It is one thing to be media-friendly and accessible, but another thing when, just because you agreed to buy a status, you show little to no respect for people’s rights. Confidential contract information should be treated as such and one wonders what the rush is with all the media statements made by TTM when Wits still have a season to finish before any changes can take place? Why rush into making future announcements when not all the boxes have been ticked yet? How about working with Wits and the League, out of respect for everyone involved, to make these pronouncements? Surely there are so many people that will be affected by the potential exchange of hands of the team’s PSL status, surely they all deserve enough respect instead of finding out about their future in the media or social media. This amateurish behaviour isn’t going to cut it in the elite league and TTM would do themselves a big favour by learning from this.
Because the PSL is a bigger brand, they would never engage in public mudslinging arguments with the clubs, lest they been seen as interfering. However, they have to do due diligence by ensuring that all contracts between the selling team and the employees, including Gavin Hunt, are respected and protected. Will the buyer be able to sustain the team and adhere to the League’s guidelines? Do they have enough financial backing to protect everyone contracted to the club? Should the buying club decide against inheriting some of those contracts, be it with players or management staff, they will have to pay them off or make the necessary arrangements before the new owners can register the team. These are just some of the finer details that need to be sorted out before the deal can be approved. In other words, as much as it is important for the buying and selling club to agree, their agreement means nothing if the league is not satisfied with the guarantees and finer details of the deal. That’s why the deal is only worthwhile after the League’s approval.
That the League or Wits haven’t made any official announcement on the matter is not because they’re hiding anything. They’re simply doing everything by the book and doing a lot of necessary work behind the scenes. That’s how these things should be handled and one hopes if TTM succeeds in buying Wits’ status, they will work on their communication skills and not allow excitement to control them. They have to act professionally and respectful to themselves, the League, and football fraternity at large.
TS Sport’s chairman, Tim Sukazi, is on record about his intentions to buy Bloemfontein Celtic, but he’s always been consistent about the fact that they await the League’s approval before they can assume ownership of the Free State-based club. It is now an open secret that Wits is suffering financially, but that doesn’t mean they should be subjected to disrespect. Show some respect for Wits, please! Once again, there’s nothing wrong with buying a status of any team for that matter, but what’s not writing is subjecting people to disrespect. Once the deal has been finalised and approved, we will all congratulate TTM but, for now, let’s wait for the League’s approval and announcement.