This year’s tournament, the 8th edition, will take place in the same bio-secure environment at the University of Pretoria as the ongoing men’s tournament. The tournament sees the eight teams divided into two groups (with the round-robin matches taking place on 29-30 September), before the playoffs on 2 October and final – as part of a double-header with the men’s decider – on 4 October.
UWC have been drawn in Group B with their quest for a maiden title – after runners-up finishes in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 – beginning against familiar foes UJ, before clashes against North-West University and University of Limpopo.
Coach Thinasonke Mbuli’s squad of 18 features 14 players who turn out for the University’s professional team in the Hollywoodbets Super League. Of those 14, eight also played in the previous edition of the Varsity Women’s Football tournament in 2019, when UDubs lost the penalty shootout to TUT in the Final.
That number includes captain Bongeka Gamede, a Banyana Banyana regular, as well as fellow recent or past national teamers in Regirl Ngobeni (goalkeeper), Khanya Xesi (striker) and Amogelang Motau (midfielder). Ngobeni’s understudy, Kay-Dee Windvogel, is also a current under-20 national squad member.
As it happens, UWC actually have two previous players of the tournament to call on in Gamede (2018) and Motau (2015) who took up a US scholarship just before the 2017 tournament and then returned to South Africa last year but has been out injured until recently. Meanwhile, Janice Smith claimed the Golden Boot at the previous edition two years back.
These players – alongside their Hollywoodbets Super League teammates – will be expected to form the ‘spine’ of UWC’s team in Pretoria on their quest to unseating six-time defending champions TUT.
UWC’S VARSITY WOMEN’S FOOTBALL 2021 SQUADGoalkeepers: Regirl Ngobeni, Kay-Dee Windvogel
Defenders: Bongeka Gamede (captain), Antonia Maponya, Simnikiwe Mhlakaza, Andiswa Mthethwa*, Zikhona Nogqala, Siphosethu Qokama*, Tshegofatso Senanya, Sinegugu Zondi.
Midfielders: Moira Manyara*, Babalwa Mngxunya, Amogelang Motau.
Strikers: Molatelo Kobo, Tiffany Kortjie, Phelisa Ncivata*, Janice Smith, Khanya Xesi.
Technical staff: Thinasonke Mbuli (head coach), Wonderboy Sibiya (assistant coach), Vulindlela Biko (goalkeeper coach), Kercheval Francke (analyst), Wendy Nomatse (team manager), Angelo Nelson (biokineticist), Keegan Hunt (physiotherapist), Hassan Sobekwa (compliance officer), Elmien Cloete (club manager)
*non-Hollywoodbets Super League
UWC’S VARSITY FOOTBALL 2021 FIXTURES
|29 September 2021||UJ||Tuks Stadium||16:30 (Live on SuperSport)|
|30 September 2021||NWU||Tuks B Field||11:30|
|30 September 2021||UL||Tuks B Field||18:30|