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04 October 2018 | in NUSF News, Football

Tshwane University of Technology claims South Africa varsity football double

 

The Tshwane University of Technology proved themselves as both the kings and queens of South African university football after winning the final in both the Varsity Football men’s and women’s competitions. Varsity Football is a two-month tournament which pits the top eight South African university football teams against each other, with the prestigious tournament involving a number of high-profile sponsors, with all games televised as well.

 

From the start of the tournament, there was little to choose between the usual heavyweight teams, with reigning champions University of Pretoria, affectionately known as “Tuks”, enjoying a solid start to the round robin stages, as did University of Johannesburg (UJ) and last year’s beaten finalists Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).

 

Following the full seven rounds of group stage matches, there was still no clear favourite as Tuks, UJ and TUT all had identical records, each side winning four, drawing two and losing just one encounter each, with the trio all topping the standings with 14 points apiece, as Wits University sat a further point back in fourth place.

 

The top four teams faced off in the semi-finals, as Tuks took on TUT in a repeat of the 2017 final. TUT would avenge last year’s defeat with a narrow 1-0 victory, booking their place in the final for an incredible fourth year in succession. In semi-final two, table-topping UJ faced Johannesburg rivals Wits who they had beaten 2-1 earlier in the competition, yet they were unable to repeat that effort as lesser-fancied Wits held out for a goalless draw before edging their arch rivals 4-3 on penalties to progress to the final, where TUT lay in wait.

 

In the last round of round robin action, TUT and Wits had played out a six-goal thriller with TUT emerging 4-2 victors, yet the final would be a much tighter affair played in front of a packed Bidvest Stadium – Wits university’s home ground.

 

 

Despite TUT starting the final on the front foot, it would be Wits, pushed on by their home supporters, who would take the lead against the run of play as captain Tshireletso Motsogi headed home after just 22 minutes to send the boisterous home crowd into delirium.

 

Wits would head into the half-time interval with their lead intact, only for TUT’s Godfrey Mahlala to draw his side level 15 minutes into the second half and bring the visitors back into the contest. The game them swung in TUT’s favour as they pushed for the winner, yet the Wits defence held strong as the game looked to be heading beyond the 90 minutes, only for the hosts to suffer heartbreak at the death as an unmarked Collen Vilakazi headed TUT to victory with a goal on the stroke of full-time. At the final whistle, the scoreboard read 2-1 in favour of TUT, who won their second Varsity Football trophy, as the scorer of their equalising goal Godfrey Mahlala was named Player of the Tournament.

 

The celebrations for TUT would not stop there though, as the ladies’ team, who had gone unbeaten throughout the tournament, faced off against the University of the Western Cape in the women’s final. Goals from Hilda Magali and Rachel Sabati would seal a 2-1 victory for TUT, who won the women’s event for a third year in a row, while capping off a solid footballing 2018 for the university.

 

 

All photo credit © Catherine Kotze