Two Wits Football Club players participated in the Olympics for university students in July.
Two Wits FC players travelled to Naples, Italy to take part in the World Student Games, also known as Universiade, from July 3 to 14.
The two are BA law student Kurt Pienaar and third-year LLB student Saluleko Mathonsi.
Senior University Sports SA (USSA) coach Karabo Mogudi was one of the coaches who scouted both players during the Varsity Football tournament last year.
Mogudi explained that to ensure everyone was given an opportunity, players were also scouted at the under-21 championships.
“Players came in for two selection camps and that is where other coaches and I selected those who were deemed ready or almost ready for international competition”, Mogudi told Wits Vuvuzela.
At the Olympics, Mathonsi played against Mexico. In that match SA lost on penalties. They later played against Argentina, and this time the SA side won on penalties.
When asked about his experience, Mathonsi said, “it is a confirmation that if I keep working hard, I can get something even bigger than this. It is just an opportunity that acknowledges my hard work.”
He explained that his dream was to play internationally.
“The first step is to make it to nationals here in South Africa, and the bigger dream is to make it overseas,” he said.
Pienaar played in matches against Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and France, in which he scored once.
Mogudi described Pienaar as “a speedy winger”.
“He burns turbo and his explosive speed is unmatched. He is a nightmare to defenders because the only way to stop him is to either foul him or get in his way,” Mogudi said.
Working towards a local or overseas contract while obtaining his two degrees is what Pienaar plans for the future.
Coach Mogudi was impressed with the players’ overall performance. He said Mathonsi might be heading to a PSL team, while Pienaar is wanted by Brazilian sides.
David Cary was the third Wits student to take part in the Universiade, this time in rugby games, but he was unfortunately unavailable for comment.
FEATURED IMAGE: Kurt Pienaar (left) and Saluleko Mathonsi (right) of the Wits FC made the World University Games. Photo: Jabulile Mbatha