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Wits set to forge ties with Man United 06/12/04
Wits University are in the process of forming an alliance with one of the world's biggest footballing clubs, English Premiership side Manchester United.

The deal will involve the Clever Boys providing young players for the Red Devils and their European satellite clubs in France, Belgium and Portugal, while United could be sending players to Wits who are not ready to make the grade at Old Trafford.

General manager of Wits, Derek Blankensee, will be meeting with Uniteds CEO, David Gill in order to try and finalise the deal.

It appears as if the deal, which has been in the pipeline for six months, originated from the relationship between the Students' coach, Roger De Sa, and Manchester United assistant manager, Carlos Queiroz.

"Carlos idolised my dad when he was a player and kept goal for Sporting Lisbon," De Sa told the Sunday Times.

"Carlos went on to coach Sporting and tried to buy me from Sundowns when I was their keeper. The funny thing is that we were all keepers, my dad, Carlos and myself, although until the time he became coach of Bafana Bafana Carlos and I had never spoken face-to-face. Now were good friends."

United are apparently in preliminary talks with some other South African clubs, however, De Sa believes that Wits have a major advantage due to their succesful youth policies, which have produced the likes of Josta Dladla, Manqoba Ngwenya, Benson Mhlongo, Rowen Fernandez, Gert Schalkwyk and Neil Winstanley in recent seasons.

"Our strength here is that we give the youngsters an opportunity," sais the Mozambique-born coach.

"At the end of the day our youngsters will get first-team football. If I need a left-back I go to the under-19s. I cant get out the chequebook like some other clubs. The list of Wits players who represented South Africa is two pages long: Gary Bailey, Zane Moosa, Eric Kosseff, Josta Dladla, Junaid Hartley, you name it."

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