JOHANNESBURG – The no was so loud and resounding that his former colleagues at Milpark probably heard Sibusiso Vilakazi in Chloorkop yesterday saying he doesn’t have any emotional attachments to Bidvest Wits ahead of their clash with Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld tomorrow.
The former Clever Boys captain signed for the Brazilians last season and missed out on his first league title as Wits ended an almost century long drought without him while Sundowns finished with no trophy in the domestic scene.
However, the 28-year-old doesn’t regret the move because at Sundowns he won the CAF Super Cup, played in the Fifa Club World Cup and he will take part in the group stage of the CAF Champions League for the first time in his career starting next month.
“That’s gone (that I left Wits and they won the league), you can’t control it,” Vilakazi said. “I left and they won the league. It wasn’t in my hands. They won it. We applauded them because they deserved the league. Now what matters is the moment.
At the moment we are on top. At the moment it is us who are trying to get the three points and at the moment it’s us who are trying to work hard and pace ourselves so that we can win the league. Winning the league would mean so much for me. It would be the team’s eighth (in the PSL-era) and my first. And no, I don’t have any emotional attachments to Wits.”
Vilakazi is in the middle of a growing rivalry between Wits and Sundowns. The two clubs have exchanged some unforgettable jibes. Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane called Wits 'Stoke City', accusing them of playing one-dimensional football.
Wits’ chief executive Jose Ferreira responded by saying that their league triumph was a victory of humility over arrogance. Mosimane and Wits’ coach Gavin Hunt are both obsessive winners who will not want to lose to the other.
“The most exciting part is that this match comes at a time when we need points and also we have to maintain our winning streak,” Vilakazi said. “They are the defending champions and obviously they want to finish in the top eight. The two big fights in this match is them trying to finish in the top eight and us trying to win the league.
That’s why it’s a big game. We have to win by all costs, not necessarily to give ourselves a breather but to be in a favourable position to win the league.”
The Brazilians sit at the top with a three-point lead and a game in hand. Orlando Pirates dropped two points on Wednesday in a goalless draw with SuperSport United. That gave Sundowns the advantage as a win tomorrow will stretch their lead to six points.
“When you are sitting at the top, you can’t really relax because teams are trying to keep up with you while you are trying to ensure they don’t catch up with you,” Vilakazi said. “That’s the most exciting part about being at the top, you have your fate in your own hands. You’re always on your toes.
You look at what your opponents are doing but at the same time focusing on yourself - trying to ensure that you keep that gap. It’s a delicate balancing act because you don’t want to slip-up or make any stupid mistakes.
You have to be smarter than the person who is behind you.”