Johannesburg - The 33-year-long wait is over for George Mogotsi – Bidvest Wits’ go-to man. There is no Wits without Bra George, as he is affectionately known in football circles, and there is no Bra George without Wits.
Mogotsi is synonymous with the club he joined as a 25-year-old back in 1984.
There is hardly any job he has not held at the club – from gatekeeper, cashier and security officer to driver and administrator.
It has been a long and difficult journey for the 58-year-old.
He came close to shedding tears of joy a few days ago after realising a long-held ambition of seeing his club win the league championship.
Mogotsi remembers the early days fondly. He has witnessed the club’s transition from a university-owned side to a fully independent team.
He was there when the club was relegated at the end of the 2004/05 season. He was also part of the team that brought the club back to the premier league in the 2006/07 season.
“It wasn’t easy in the first division as only 20 people could travel to a game. We fought hard and lost only two games on our way back to the premiership,” he said.
He has lost count of the number of Wits staff who have come and gone.
Even during tough times, Mogotsi remained the mainstay of the club.
He was the club’s driver when Wits recruited black players from around Soweto and Alexandra.
Celebrate this achievement
He paid tribute to current and former club bosses Professor Ronnie Schloss – who made that important call to his late mum to tell him he had a job – Raymond Hack, Derek Blanckensee, Brian Joffe and José Ferreira, who he called the mastermind behind the club’s recent successes. He also included Irvin Khoza on that list, saying he played an important role in his life.
“It was after the [Premier Soccer League] took us to a security course to become qualified officers that things became better for us. The training opened doors for some of us, and I must thank the chair of the league for his vision and leadership as some of us are where we are today because of him”.
He said he would have loved to celebrate this achievement with his late mum.
“If only my mum was around to witness this as she was there when the whole thing started in 1996, when I was employed full time as a driver picking up players from Hillbrow, Alexandra and Soweto.”
As a religious man – he is a full member of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa – he believes he has fought the good fight and won the race.
“Like Paul said, I have run my race and this is the crown that has been missing. This is it”.
He believes the club is in good hands under Gavin Hunt and reckons more trophies are coming their way.