PSL champions Bidvest Wits have wasted no time in bolstering their title-winning squad in a truncated off-season, with moneybags Mamelodi Sundowns certain to break out the chequebook in the hunt to reclaim league honours.
The Clever Boys have already added Daylon Claasen, Steven Pienaar, burly Montenegrin defender Slavko Damjanovic and SA U20 star Kobamelo Kodisang to their books. It is the capture of Claasen and Pienaar that will have the Wits fans excited about the upcoming season.
A classy playmaker with the technical skills to light up the PSL, 27-year-old Claasen has spent most of his career in Europe, with the likes of German outfit 1860 Munich, Polish hotshots Lech Poznan and Belgium’s Lierse. Long heralded as the heir apparent to Pienaar, Claasen failed to live up to his undoubted promise and has made just 10 appearances for Bafana Bafana since making his debut in 2010.
Pienaar is a man who needs no introduction to South African football fans. One of the few footballers from Mzansi to boast Uefa Champions League experience, the former Bafana Bafana captain still has a lot to offer and could well have the same impact on the PSL that Benni McCarthy did on his return from Europe with Orlando Pirates. The 35-year-old, who was linked to the PSL big three before arriving at Wits, has been plagued by injury over the past few seasons, but could find the pace of the local league more to his liking.
The former Everton fan favourite’s influence on the squad could be of even more importance than his exploits on the pitch, particularly where Claasen is concerned. It will be a fantastic boon for Wits and Bafana Bafana if Pienaar is able to finally unlock the Klerksdorp man’s true potential.
In Claasen, Pienaar and PSL magic man Dane Klaite, Wits have a midfield trio well capable of securing a second consecutive league title and the Clever Boys’ strikers will have little excuse not to rack up the goals – what with the number of chances coming their way. If Wits can keep things tight at the other end, they could be celebrating a second title come May next year.