Long-time Wits official Mogotsi finally savours a maiden PSL title after a 33-year wait
Throughout his 33-year association with newly crowned Absa Premiership champions Bidvest Wits‚ long-time employee George Mogotsi has seen coaches come and go but no one quite like incumbent Gavin Hunt.
The 58-year old Mogotsi - who has worked his way up from being a cashier‚ driver and security to becoming a director at the side - has seen 11 coaches go through the Wits revolving coaching door with Hunt the 12th and the first to win the league championship at a club that boasts a rich 95-years history.
"He is tough‚ no-nonsense‚ involved in everything that has to do with technical issues and works very hard behind the scenes on improving players individually to fit into the strategy of the team and in preparation of matches‚" Mogotsi says.
"He is very hard to please as an administrator and he is passionate about the game of football.
"I tried my best to satisfy him by giving him whatever he wanted from the management to improve the team and it was not easy‚” said Mogotsi.
“We used to sit and talk about football for many hours and he would not get bored because this is his passion.
"He has a good working relationship with Jose Ferreira and you must remember that they won the league at SuperSport United a few years ago.
"This is a man who spotted a young Benni McCarthy and gave him an opportunity at Seven Stars who were playing in the townships all over Cape Town."
Though it took 33 years‚ Mogotsi‚ who also experienced the agony and the pain of relegation after the club was swallowed by the quicksand in the 2004-2005 season‚ never lost hope that one day Wits would finally lay their hands on domestic football Holy Grail.
“I am happy that we finally managed to win the league championship because this is what every club aspires to be‚" he says.
"When we wake up every morning to go to work‚ this is what we are working towards and I am very happy that finally it has been achieved and hopefully it is the beginning of many other good things to come for this club.”
The veteran administrator says he owes a debt of gratitude to past Wits colleagues who believed in him‚ most notably Derek Blanckensee‚ Raymond Hack‚ John Latham and Professor Ronnie Schloss.
“I started off as a cashier‚ gatekeeper and driver before I was moved by Derek (Blanckensee) to management.
"They said I was passionate about my work and in 1996 they organised for me to get a driver's license so that I could pick up players who were scattered all over Johannesburg.
"I was working long hours because I would start in Soweto to collect guys like Ashley Makhanya‚ move to Westbury to collect guys like Stanton Fredericks and Junaid Hartley and come to Hillbrow to collect others.”
After years of working as a driver‚ Blanckensee recommended him to management where he taught him football office work‚ which included transfers and player registrations among others.
“Derek (Blanckensee) played a huge role in my development as an administrator together with Raymond (Hack) and Ronnie (Schloss).”
Working for a club that was viewed as white in the days of apartheid came with its challenges and Mogotsi said he was often accused of being an informant.
“Whenever we played in the townships‚ people used to make nasty racial remarks about me but that did not make me stop.
"I was accused of being an ‘Impimpi’‚ that I was giving the team traditional medicine (muthi) and my life was often threatened‚” he said adding that Wits beating Chiefs in the Top 8 final in 1995 was one of his most memorable moments in football. - TMG Digital/TMG Sport