UDUBS Varsity Football Champions
UWC men’s football club were crowned as Varsity Football champions for the first time when they downed favourites Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) 2-1 on Thursday evening.
The victory was a sweet and immediate revenge for Udubs football after their women’s soccer team could not wrestle the Varsity Ladies Football title from TUT, going down by the same score-line to the reigning champions in an earlier encounter at UWC Sports Stadium.
During the men’s game, the capacity-full home supporters were silenced early on in the first half when TUT’s Masonwabe Sokanyile scored a free kick from outside the box which beat UWC goalkeeper and Captain Reon October. Despite the home side’s few attempts at goal, the score remained 1-0 going to the break.
Whatever UWC coach Salie Adams told his charges in the dressing room seemed to work as his side came back firing from all cylinders in the second stanza. With the cheering crowd backing their team, it was not too long before Man of the Match Tapelo Sixishe’s brilliantly-taken corner kick found left back Keenan Davis who headed home the deserving equaliser in the 58 minute.
Adams, the former Maritzburg United assistant coach, and his technical team were good at reading the game, as it has been the case throughout the tournament. They brought on Josh Silent upfront, and with 15 minutes remaining Player of the Tournament Thulani Mkosi’s defensive-splitting pass found the big forward whose thunderous strike from a tight angle hit the roof of the net to send the packed stadium into frenzy.
Udubs could have added a goal or two to put the game way beyond the visitors’ reach, but their attempts missed the target. But that didn’t matter as the Varsity Football came to Cape Town for the first time in its three years of existence.
In the women’s final, player of the match Thembi Kgatlana displayed why she is regularly called up to play for Banyana Banyana, the country’s senior women football team (she, along with former student Leandra Smeda are the squad for the Olympic Qualifiers next month). With her team trailing 1-0 in the second half, Kgatlane intercepted the ball way outside the box and her skilful run left a couple of defenders standing to slot the ball between the legs of the TUT goalkeeper to level matters.
But UWC Ladies lost concentration at the back and allowed the visitors to score another goal later on. And despite putting up a brave fight they could not found the equaliser.
However, the defeat was quickly forgotten by the joyful home supporters, who included students, staff alumni and members of the community, when their men’s team beat TUT in a later encounter.