Sunderland Link Up With Another African Side

Cameron Spencer

As Sunderland's network of club's grow, it seems another link up we've created has flown under the radar.

After inking deals with Ghanaian giants Asante Kotoko, Belgian top-tier side SK Lierse and Spanish lower-league side FC Gava, it seems there is another one to add to the list in the form of South African Premier League side Bidvest Wits.

The team, nicknamed "The Clever Boys", are now in partnership with Sunderland in much the way Kotoko are in that we're looking to unearth some talented and unheard of players as well as helping to provide coaching and infrastructure expertise to them.

The deal seems to have been revealed by Chief of International Development and former Sunderland star, Gordon Chisholm. Chisholm is currently visiting Kotoko to see how they are progressing and give feedback to Sunderland's upper management on any potential future stars, and to make sure they're actually taking on board other things which we have offered them.

In an interview with the Kotoko Express, Chisholm spoke of the deal with Bidvest;

We are also working with Bidvest Wits FC of South Africa and what we are trying to do is to create a system where we can have a number of clubs involved and we can all help each other as regards players, sponsorships link up and we can get a good relationship.

With this arrangement, all the clubs involved will benefit. It is therefore important that I am here to see at firsthand how things are done here and how the people work. I will be with Bidvest Wits in South Africa later in the month and all these will be geared at fostering the relationship that we are building in Africa.

Building a network of clubs like this is something that has been long overdue with Sunderland. Knowing we're not likely to compete with the top dogs any time soon we need to establish a way to unearth players at next to nothing, and building good relationships like this can only be of benefit to us.

Bidvest have had many high-profile names play for them in the past, including Richard Gough, Paddy Crerand and Gary Bailey. They have also had plenty former South African national players too including Rowen Fernandez, Eric Tinkler and Neil Winstanley.

They also won the NedBank Cup (their FA Cup equivalent) in 2010, and currently totter around the mid-table positions in the South African Premier League on a regular basis.

All in all, it's great to see Sunderland involved in further deals, and even if only one player comes through, if he goes on to make something for himself, the whole system will have paid off.

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