UWC Ladies Football Club have been crowned the SAFA Cape Town Coca-Cola Cup winners for the third time in five years. This, after defeating the resolute Spurs Women Football Club 3-1 in the final at Erica Park Sports Ground on a sweltering October's day.
The game stood at 2-2 after UWC came back from 2-1 down to equalise through Nolubabalo Sishuba’s stunning curler in the dying minutes of regulation time. Udubs had taken an early lead when Chelsea Daniels struck home in the opening minutes, but lost the lead when Spurs hit back with a penalty and a free kick in the first half.
UWC got back in the game in the second half, hitting the post once and forcing a number of crucial saves from the opposition goalkeeper until Sishuba grabbed the equaliser in the few remaining minutes. The game went straight to penalties and Player of the Match, Jaime Lee Peters, made two crucial saves while Daniels and Sishuba were joined by Banyana Banyana star Khanya Xesi to convert their spot-kicks and ensure that the Coke Cup returned home.
Previously, UWC Ladies had won the Safa Cape Town-organised Coke Cup in 2016 and 2014.
“Winning the Coke Cup means a lot for the UWC Ladies team,” said captain Jamie Witbooi. “After previous disappointment in the Varsity Women’s Football competition (when UWC lost 2-1 to Tshwane University of Technology in the final), Coke was one tournament that we knew we could win. We put in a lot of effort and hard work and we are very happy to be the champions again. This can only motivate us to do even better in the remaining Sasol League games. We thank the team, management and the UWC community for believing in us.”
Coach Nathan Peskin said it has been the story of their lives this season to start games well, play poorly subsequently, but come back in the end. “We have displayed character when the chips are down,” he said. “It is not good because it puts us on the back foot but also shows that our young teams possess lots of character.”
Although UWC Ladies lost the final of the Varsity Women’s Football competition a few weeks ago and were knocked out in the semi-finals of the National Club Championships earlier in the year, they have had a good season, winning Stream B of the Western Cape Sasol League after beating the University of the Cape Town 2-1 on Friday. They need to win a play-off match against Stream A winners on 3 November to secure a spot in the National Women’s League next year – the first ever professional women’s league in South Africa.
“That will be a huge achievement for UWC women’s football,” added Peskin enthusiastically. “We hope the University community will back us and spur us on to win and put UWC at the forefront of women football in South Africa.”