UDUBS Shoots to Varsity Football Final
Fireworks blasted, fans jumped and screamed, and players and administrators celebrated at the UWC Sports Stadium when UWC’s men's football team reached the Varsity Football final.
The 4-2 victory on penalties against Wits University (the game ended goalless after regulation time) on Thursday evening represents more than reaching the apex stage of this prestigious premium university football spectacle for the first time in the tournament’s history. It also puts Udubs on a higher pedestal and gives the University an opportunity to showcase its sterling work to the broader community. During half time HySA’s innovative hydrogen golf cart was demonstrated in front of millions of television viewers, and Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Tyrone Pretorius, and Dr Cordelia Sita, head of Hysa, were interviewed.
After finishing top of the Varsity Football round-robin mini-league, UWC will now host the final in two weeks time against Tshwane University of Technology, who beat two-time champions UP-Tuks in the other semi-final match on the same evening.
On the field of play on a chilly and wet evening, UWC captain Reon October led from the front. During the penalty shootout it seemed as if the game was over for the home side when Marshal Jansen’s spot kick was saved by the Wits shot-stopper.
With the near-capacity crowd continuing to cheer their team, October managed to parry two spot kicks onto the upright afterwards to give his side the advantage. Then Man of the Match Tapelo Sixishe and teammates Ashwin Kounzie, Ryan Steer and Keenan Davis converted their kicks to send the entire stadium into frenzy.
Coach Salie Adams said credit should go to his players. “All praises must go to the players. They knew exactly what they were doing and what they wanted out of the game,” the ecstatic Adams commented.
“We didn’t play good football, we didn’t create scoring opportunities, but it was an exciting game. At the end of the day it was the hunger and the determination of the players to get to the final that pulled us through.”
His defenders, who have contributed to the team, conceding only five goals in eight matches, received a particular mention. “As from the beginning the team knows that the least goals we concede the least games we lose.”
Adams said that individually, the team can improve a bit moving forward, “but as a unit we are doing very well.” What was even more encouraging, he said, was the fact that not only fans and University leadership were behind the team, but even players who were not part of the squad were more enthusiastic and supportive. “That shows togetherness in the UWC team.”
Now the UWC team is preparing for the final at home against TUT on Heritage Day. “The players have set their targets from the beginning (first to get to the semis, and then to final) and have reached them. Now we need to work hard to get the success we deserve, and that is to win the final.”