Season looking up for Wits FC

STILL KICKING: Wits FC is steadily trying to ascend to their place as champions of university league football. The team is currently participating in the varsity football league, where they have won two out of five matches.

STILL KICKING: Wits FC is steadily trying to ascend to their place as champions of university league football. The team is currently participating in the varsity football league, where they have won two out of five matches.

 

It was a season of drawing or losing for Wits university senior men’s team until two matches ago when they managed to start an unexpected winning streak.

It started off as a shaky campaign for the Wits side in July when they suffered a goalless loss against both North West University and Tshwane University of Technology. The season seemed like it would be something that would end in tears for Wits supporters.

At that point it looked as though Wits was leaving the tournament the same way they did in 2013 – bombed out with the worst loss to TUT, 3-0.

The change for the Wits side came in Round 5 when they brought the momentum of the UP Tuks side to a screeching halt.

Tuks had won two matches in a row, and suffered only one loss in the season so far. But their streak was stopped by Wits FC with a 2-1 win.

Round 6 also saw Wits beat the Vaal University of Technology 2-1 on their home turf infamously known as the slaughter house.

This sudden but welcome change of events leaves Wits at 4th place on the Varsity Football Log with one more match to go before the semi-final round.

Wits will meet Walter Sisulu University on Monday evening at the Bidvest Wits Stadium. Kick-off is at 6pm.

 

Tuks are Varsity Football champs

After 31 matches, 87 goals and 23 wins, Tuks came out on top with a 4-1 win in the final game against the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University last night.

It was an explosive finale to the inaugural Varsity Football challenge. Out of the eight teams who participated in the 2013 Varsity Football challenge the two remaining teams, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) went head-to-head with Tuks from the University of Pretoria in the final.

NMMU, otherwise known as the Madibaz, had a solid defence in the first half of the game. They put their bodies on the line in an attempt at good defense against the home team.

With an atmospheric kick-off for the home team, Tuks plunged their way into dominating ball possession in the first 20 minutes of the game. The Madibaz probed on the edges, and by the 15 minute of the game all the jittery nerves had become a thing of the past.

Tuks tried hard to turn all their defences into attacks and in the 20th minute, defender Lawrence Ntswane opened up the scoring lines by executing a perfect header straight into the goal post. Madibaz goalie Lyndsay Jennings had no chance at stopping the ball just creeping in.

[pullquote align=”right”]“It’s very pleasing and a wonderful thing that has happened for SA rugby and it’s a nice step from school level to professional level.”[/pullquote]

The Madibaz saw their best moment of attack in the first half when centrefold Lukhanyo Rasmeni from Port Elizabeth chanced a direct shot at goal, however with a disappointing result.

To end the first half off perfectly, 22 year-old defender Claudio Barreiro scored the second goal for Tuks in the 44th minute of the game.

Evangelos Vellios, coach for Tuks said: “It’s very pleasing and a wonderful thing that has happened for SA rugby and it’s a nice step from school level to professional level.”

The second half saw the Madibaz return with fighting spirits with quick and nippy kicks and clear strategy for goal attack.

[pullquote]“ We pulled something out of the hat and we definitely saved the best for last.”[/pullquote]

Although Madibaz came back with fighting spirits they were unable to prevent Tuks from scoring their third goal in the 72nd minute of the game. Mbogeni Masilela pushed Tuks to a well deserved three goals. Masilela has scored a total of three goals himself in this tournament.

NMMU decided to make their first change of the game. Alexander Owusu was sent to the bench with number 25 Bradley Peterson replacing him.

Peterson, watching out for the counter attack along with Leroy van Rensburg, a player who was underestimated, together with a joint effort managed to score the first the goal for NMMU in the 77th minute of the game.

Although the Madibaz came back fighting, Tuks brought the game home on their own turf when Masilela once again performed his magic, and with effortless pace and shot the fourth goal for Tuks perfectly into the post in last minute of the game.

The post-match ceremony saw trophies being handed to the champions by Dennis Mumble, Professor Julian Smith and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Player of the Tournament was “Scara” Mnyamane from NWU Mafikeng and man of the match was Jarryd van der Berg who said: “ We pulled something out of the hat and we definitely saved the best for last.”

Tristyn Coetsee, goalkeeper for Tuks won the Debonairs Dynamite Goalkeeper prize and the Samsung Super Striker went to Niven Kops from NMMU who said: “We are going back to the drawing boards.”

Related articles: 

Big five in the posts

Keegan Boulle, a Tuks reserve, scores the fourth goal in their game against UCT on Monday. Photo: Provided

Keegan Boulle, Tuks reserve, scores the fourth goal in their game against UCT on Monday. Photo: Provided

A RESOUNDING defeat on Monday night took away any hopes the University of Cape Town (UCT) team had of moving up from the bottom of the Varsity Football log.

Goal after goal, it became obvious that the University of Pretoria (Tuks) players were not going to let the UCT team squeeze in one redeeming goal for themselves.

The team from the coast were at a slight disadvantage as Tuks played on their home ground, the Ama Tuks Stadium, with their fans cheering them on every step of the way. [pullquote align=”right”]By the 90th minute the outwitted UCT team had watched five flashes of fire go off, signalling five goals at their goalposts[/pullquote]

UCT goalkeeper Bevan Adonis showed some promise in the fifth minute of the game with an impressive diving save. The opening goal by Tuks’s Desmond Khuzwayo was the catalyst that kept Adonis diving and sliding in the goalposts.

Man of the match Dean Wilkinson then scored a clean shot on goal, which made it obvious that Tuks were out to win.

Mbongeni Masilela put his boot in with a third goal.

Keegan Boulle, a reserve put on late in the game, added two more goals to Tuks’s tally. By the 90th minute the outwitted UCT team had watched five flashes of fire go off, signalling five goals at their goalposts.

Back home

More disappointment took place on the field closer to home at Milpark Stadium. Wits were beaten by the visiting team from the University of the Western Cape (UWC).

The 2-0 victory pushed the Wits team down to seventh spot on the log after the gains they had made last week with their 1-0 win over UCT.

RELATED ARTICLES

 

Scoring boots lift Wits

The third round of Varsity Football was explosive indeed, with the Wits student team winning their first match of the campaign.

Winning 

In their second away game, Wits beat UCT 1-0 at the Green Mile in Cape Town. Winger Neo Makua netted a last-minute goal, pulling Wits from the bottom of the log to a comfortable fifth position.

This left UCT as stragglers on the log.

LOG: The Varsity Football log as it stands right now. Photo: Provided

LOG: The Varsity Football log as it stands right now. Photo: Provided

Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) also won their game, scoring one goal against North West University (NWU) – Mafikeng Campus – on the losers’ home ground.

Wits have scored the least goals in the campaign so far and have also conceded the most goals – eight in three games.

Booted off

NWU have been the highest scoring team in the tournament with 10 goals under their belt.

Until last Monday they had never lost a match. NWU have now conceded two goals and lost one match.

TUT has now taken top spot on the log and are now the only undefeated team in the competition.

Their unbeaten streak makes them early favourites to take the tournament, but there are still six weeks to go.

Strong defence play led to draws between Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and University of Pretoria (Tuks) and between the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the University of Free State .

Wits will take on UWC today at 7pm on their home ground, Milpark Stadium.

@pheladi_s

RELATED ARTICLES

Tuks tuck in to Wits

THE WITS student team did most of the early running against the University of Pretoria (Tuks) in their second-round match of the Varsity Football tournament.

But Wits, just as they did last Monday in a 4-0 loss to North West University – Mafikeng Campus, failed to turn that pressure into goals, going down 2-0 to Tuks.

Again, Wits was put to the sword by an opponent simply more ruthless in front of goal than our boys in yellow.

Tuks scored two unanswered goals in front of their home crowd at the Tuks Stadium to notch up their first win in the second week of the nine-week tournament.

Wits just cannot score

Wits suffered their second straight loss and another 90 minutes without scoring on a cold night on the Highveld, made colder by the disappointing result.

Things, however, did not start out bleakly for the Witsies, and a powerful shot from outside the 18-yard area in the 12th minute forced the Tuks goalkeeper to punch the ball past his right-hand upright for a corner.

It was a signal of intent from Wits, and while Tuks struggled to settle into a rhythm, Wits passed the ball with purpose.

This did not last though and soon Tuks took control of the game and besieged the Wits goal with attack after attack.

Unsurprisingly, Tuks took the lead after attacker Mosa Sesele headed in a cross from a well-taken corner.

Before and after the goal, goalkeeper Mohale Kgabusi more than proved his abilities, making many brave saves to keep Wits in the game.

Wits had opportunities to level the score, but did not do enough to breach the Tuks defence.

When Wits finally does score…

Tuks got their second goal handed to them on a platter in the 89th minute when Wits defender Nelson Mwale scored an own goal.

Mwale was caught stranded after he could not get out of the way of a low and powerful cross following a Tuks counter-attack.

Wits are now last on the eight-team table.

NWU hand Wits a drubbing at Varsity Football opener

Sandwhich: Wits player Tumelo Magethi escapes NWU defenders Photo: Prelene Singh

Sandwich: Wits player Mzimkhulu Nhlengethwa escapes NWU defenders Photo: Prelene Singh

North West University (NWU) are early favourites to lift the inaugural Varsity Football title, after the men from Mafikeng thrashed Wits 4-0 at Milpark Stadium on Monday night.

The launch of Explosive Mondays, where student football teams from eight universities around the country will compete every Monday for the next nine weeks, was festive and filled with entertainment on and off the field.

The match, played in front of a packed a home crowd was beamed live by DStv channel Supersport, as will 15 out of the total 33 games, and this raised the atmosphere to fever-pitch on a frosty night in the Highveld.

Prizes on offer for those who braved the cold added to the atmosphere. Cash prizes for the most vocal fans and res’s with the most colourful supporters, a raffle for five cases of beer and a sea of freebies made it a memorable evening.

Memorable that is, for all except the Wits student team, who were a goal down within the first 15 minutes, and forced to chase shadows in the second half when UNW put on an exhibition of idiski, or more precisely “ukupencila” – vernacular in South African townships for “keep-ball” and dribbling.

While the team from the North West was much fitter, quicker, and more aggressive in attack throughout the 90 minutes, the score at half-time could have been in Wits’s favour had the home team turned their dominance in possession into goals.

Wits were comfortable on the ball playing crisp, one-touch football that delighted Witsies, who chanted war-cries and bayed for NWU’s blood.

Phenyo Mongalo, Zachary Cohen, and captain Mzimkhulu Nhlengethwa were inventive in midfield and fed the strikers well, but Wits front-line just wasn’t up to the task and squandered plenty of chances to score.

Wits paid the ultimate price for their wastefulness, conceding a penalty in the 11th minute and another three goals in the final quarter of the game.

Wits head coach, Karabo Mogudi attributed the disappointing performance to the recent university vacations, which he said affected his team’s fitness.

“If our conditioning level was at the required standard we would have done much better,” he said.

Mogudi said NWU were fitter and sharper than his charges because they had been training in preparation for National First Division (NFD) play-offs.

He also said the tournament was a great initiative, but stressed that it was important for the players to be successful on and off the field.

“I’ll only know the benefits of the tournament at the end of the year, when everyone passes and does well in their studies … when they come back to me and say ‘coach, I don’t owe the University anything”.

IMG_1882

Oh dear! The fourth goal really knocked the stuffing out of Wits Photo: Prelene Singh