Potential split looms between CEO Jose Ferreira and cash-strapped Bidvest Wits

Bidvest Wits chief executive Jose Ferreira (L) with head coach Gavin Hunt (C) and senior club official George Mokgotsi (R).
Bidvest Wits chief executive Jose Ferreira (L) with head coach Gavin Hunt (C) and senior club official George Mokgotsi (R).
Image: Sydney Seshibedi

Bidvest Wits’ chief executive officer Jose Ferreira could be out of the club by Monday as talks over his future at the club continue over the weekend‚ TimesLIVE has been informed by reliable sources.

The much-respected administrator could be the latest to leave the club after a brutal last month of culling of both coaching and backroom staff looks to continue.

Several have left in the past months‚ including head of youth Glen Salmon and team manager Costa Bellos.

Talks over Ferreira’s future with the club’s owners Bidvest will settle the issue by early next week.

Details behind the possible departure are sketchy and Ferreira was not available to comment when attempts were made to contact him on Friday.

He was at the Premier Soccer League’s (PSL) executive committee meeting in Johannesburg on Thursday‚ where eyewitnesses saw him in a heated telephone discussion.

Gavin Hunt is frustrated with the financial situation that Bidvest Wits find themselves in.
Gavin Hunt is frustrated with the financial situation that Bidvest Wits find themselves in.
Image: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

Ferreira was enticed to Wits by Brian Joffe at the beginning of 2012 to run the club and the investment of the billionaire owner‚ plus the hiring of Gavin Hunt as coach‚ ensured a first-ever league title for the club in 2017.

But with Joffe’s departure from Bidvest shortly thereafter‚ the club has had to tighten its belt and at the end of last season dramatically reduced their wage bill with the release of several players.

Before Wits‚ the Ferreira-Hunt combination won three PSL championships in succession from 2008 to 2010 at SuperSport United.

Ferreira has a reputation as a market tactician in the transfer marketplace and pioneered the sneaky process of snatching a player from under the eyes of his employer by signing him on a pre-contract when there were just six months remaining on his contract.

It came to the public’s attention when Jomo Sono was blindsided over Liberian forward Anthony Laffor.

Sono moved too slowly to re-sign his best player and because the rules allowed another club to approach a player when he had six months or less left on his contract‚ Ferreira was able to entice Laffor to SuperSport while Sono dithered.

Cash-strapped Bidvest Wits are desperately trying to hold on to their best player and captain Thulani Hlatshwayo, who is linked with a big money move to Orlando Pirates.
Cash-strapped Bidvest Wits are desperately trying to hold on to their best player and captain Thulani Hlatshwayo, who is linked with a big money move to Orlando Pirates.
Image: Philip Maeta/Gallo Images

So infuriated was the ‘Black Prince’ that he banished Laffor to the sidelines for the remaining time at Cosmos.

Ferreira started in football at Mamelodi Sundowns‚ where he was acting chief executive officer from 2004 to 2007‚ when Patrice Motsepe won his first titles as owner with Miguel Gamondi and Neil Tovey as coaches in 2006 and Gordon Igesund the following year.

His legal expertise have made him a major figure in the domestic game with a high-ranking role in the PSL inner sanctum‚ and since May last year a place on the Safa Council, the highest decision-making body in between elective congresses, of the SA Football Association (Safa) as one of the representatives of the PSL.

After years of Mato Madlala serving as PSL acting chief executive‚ Ferreira could well be a candidate to take over the position permanently – if he leaves Wits – as he also enjoys the close confidence of league supremo Irvin Khoza.

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