FNB VARSITY CUP: Clash of Titans ends in stalemate

Nothing could separate the Boys in Blue and Ikeys in an erratic varsity cup battle.

Wits University clashed with the University of Cape Town (UCT) in the Varsity Cup on March 18, 2024, with the game eventually ending in a nail-biting 33-33 draw.  

The visitors came into the game as favourites on the back of two successive victories against the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the Central University of Technology (CUT).  

Wits on the other hand headed into the encounter seeking redemption on the heels of a two-game losing streak, the most recent being a 51-22 away loss to the North-West University (NWU) Eagles.  

A second minute penalty and three tries saw UCT go into the half-time break with a 10-28 lead over the home side.  

However, Wits flew out the traps in the second half, scoring two tries within the first five minutes. One courtesy of fullback, Setshaba Mokoena, who ripped through the UCT defence before he chipped, then chased the ball to score a dazzling solo effort. 

Wits and UCT engaged in a tight battle at Wits Rugby Stadium. Photo: Kabir Jugram

This dizzying spell from the home side reduced the halftime deficit to two points, but only for a matter of minutes as a try by Mhleli Khuzwayo extended the buffer for the away side.  

The scoreboard was 26-33 to the Ikeys with ten minutes left on the clock, setting the stage for a nervy finale. But the Wits crowd remained at full volume, and their spirit was duly rewarded when Wits prop, Ronan Dutton scrambled over the goal line in the final minute of the game. After a successful conversion, the game ended in a 33-33 draw.   

Debutant Wits flanker, Kevin Kakoma said the match was, “Absolutely exhilarating! [I] had a blast out there. It was tough, obviously, they kept coming and never really died down, but it was a good push.” He said the crowd was a highlight, “I’m truly thankful for everyone coming out and just giving out support. I really felt that I was at home here”. 

UCT prop John Okonkwo said, “We brought the energy, we brought the effort. Kudos to Wits, they really put us on our toes today, especially in the second half. I think a draw justifies the game and how it actually played out.” 

Wits is now fifth on the Varsity Cup log with two games remaining. Their next clash is against the UJ at the UJ Stadium on March 25, 2024.   

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits and UCT players compete for a line-out. Photo: Kabir Jugram

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Pirates triumphs over Wits in penalty shootout 

Buccaneers reserve team beat Wits 4-2 on penalties after 90 minutes stalemate  

First-year Wits University students watched a nail-biting football match when Pirates and Wits clashed at the annual Spirit Game which took place during orientation week.  

The Wits Rugby Stadium was packed to capacity on Friday, February 9, 2024, as students eagerly awaited the traditional ‘Witsies for Life’ ceremony led by Dean of Student Affairs, Jerome September.  

Pirates’ striker Mehluleli Maphumulo scored the first goal of the match in just under a minute, but before this could even register, Wits FC striker, Prince Manku responded with a goal of his own in the second minute of the game. These two goals set the bar for a remaining 89 minutes of fierce competition.  

Despite the effort to keep the goal-scoring momentum, the first half ended in a stalemate of 1-1, which Wits assistant coach, Andile Zulu viewed as a positive outcome as the team has only trained twice this year and is predominantly filled with first-year players. 

Wits Kudus took control in the second half, immediately scoring their second goal, a solo effort by Bornwise Ntshani. Pirates’ striker Amogelang Matebesi scored an equalizer five minutes after Ntshani’s goal, taking the teams straight to penalties.

Pirates Coach, Joseph Makhanya said: “This [turnout] is lovely, we love playing in such a capacity and I expected this match to be difficult because Wits produces high quality players.” 

Wits brought on their reserve goalkeeper, Skylar Martin, before the penalty shootouts to replace the first-team goalkeeper, Sihlubane Samkele, who suffered a hamstring injury. Their head coach, Abram Mongoya expressed concern and dissatisfaction, pointing out the player’s three injuries in the 2023/24 season. 

Wits players comforted Martins after he struggled to save all penalties against the Buccaneers, leading to their 4-2 victory. Pirates effectively scored four penalties, missing one as it struck the crossbar. 

“I’m so glad I came, I enjoyed every moment of this match although I’m not a big soccer fan,” said first year Bachelor of Arts student, Zandile Mafu. 

Wits FC reserve goalkeeper, Skylar Martin missing a penalty shoot by a Pirates football player. Photo: Sfundo Parakozov

This game was part of Wits’ preparations for their upcoming match on February 14 in the ABC Motsepe League. Currently occupying the seventh spot in the league, Wits is set to face Pretoria Ally’s Tigers who are seventeenth and in danger of relegation. 

In their previous encounter on October 28, 2023, Wits secured a narrow 2-1 victory against the Tigers. Coach Zulu told Wits Vuvuzela that the team is preparing to secure a convincing win against the Tigers this time around.  

Varsity Sports cancels hockey and cricket 

The well-known sports event disappointed qualifying teams by removing the hockey and cricket tournaments this year. 

Wits’ cricket and hockey team members qualifying to participate in the varsity cup games — alongside the top eight universities in South Africa — will not be partaking in the sports due to lack of sponsorship.  

Sharmin Naidoo, the sports officer for hockey at Wits said that sponsors pulled their funding from supporting these games; and new ones could not be found. According to the Varsity Sports website, the main sponsors for all included sports are FNB, Cashbuild and Suzuki. However, it is not yet clear why they pulled their money from cricket and hockey.  

Naidoo explained that all universities are part of a company called University Sports Company, which contracted ASEM Sports Entertainment and Media to manage and get sponsorships for Varsity Sports. 

 “This year they were only able to find sponsors for Varsity Cup [the rugby tournament] and some varsity sports. There have been no sponsors for cricket and hockey,” he said.   

The Wits Cricket team at the Walter Milton cricket oval on Wits main campus after winning their last match of the league in April 2023. Photo: Kimberley Kersten

Naidoo said that the varsity sports which have secured sponsorship besides rugby are men and women’s football as well as netball. 

The Wits hockey team has a history of competing in the Varsity Hockey tournament, according to Naidoo, and finished in second place in 2022. 

 However, Nono Pongolo, coach of the Wits’ cricket team said that to his knowledge, the team has never qualified to be included in the Varsity tournament, and “to have it ripped away from them like that is disappointing”. 

He said the team worked hard to win in their division in Pretoria, in the USSA tournament in 2022; and it is important for them to continue showcasing their talents. 

Pongolo added that the universities are organising a smaller cricket event amongst themselves which is set to take place at the University of Pretoria later this year, “so it’s not all doom and gloom, but it’s not the varsity cup.” However, he hope that they will be able to participate in the tournament in 2024. 

Wits’ cricket player Joshua Streak said Varsity Cup “is significant because of its name” and even though there are other tournaments, there are not as big. He added, “It’s an important tournament when it comes to [national and provincial] selections, and for exposure because it’s usually televised.”  

Wit’s hockey and cricket player Reese Scheepers said, “I’m extremely disappointed. We work extremely hard during the year to play in such a tournament. Now it feels like our hard work and talent won’t be displayed.” He continued, “I’m a passionate sportsman and I look[ed] forward to competing in such tournaments and now it feels like this year has been lost.”  

Storme Johnson, the chairperson of the Wits sports council, who played hockey for Wits in the Varsity Sports 2019 tournament said, “It was an experience that I will never forget. It is so sad that the younger girls in our team won’t get the opportunity to experience it.” 

Wits Vuvuzela reached out to previous sponsors of Varsity cricket and hockey for comment; but did not receive a reply by the time of publishing.

FEATURED IMAGE: a Wits cricket player kneels on the field after catching a ball at the Walter Milton cricket oval at Wits main campus. Photo: Kimberley Kersten

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NETBALL: School teams shoot through to 2023 World Cup  

Building up to the 2023 Netball World Cup in South Africa, the Sophiatown Netball Championship shines a light on the need to restore school sports. 

Gauteng premier, Panyaza Lesufi promised netball players from six schools in the greater Sophiatown area that they will be going to Cape Town for the Netball World Cup 2023, taking place from July 28 to August 6. 

Initially, only the four best players were promised an all-expenses paid trip to the World Cup. But Lesufi’s pledge on Sunday, May 28 made the circle bigger, including players from all six teams that participated in the two day Sophiatown Netball Championship, at the Brixton Multipurpose Centre in Johannesburg. .

The schools that participated were Coronationville Secondary School, Riverlea High School, Hoerskool Die Burger, Florida Park High School, Langlaagte Technical High School and Westbury Secondary School.  

Sophiatown Netball Championship volunteer teams trying to save the ball. Photo: Mbalenhle Dlamini

The Sophiatown Netball championship is a community centred tournament hosted by member of parliament Nompendulo Mkhatshwa and chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Asanda Luwaca. 

Westbury High School goal attack (GA), Kamohelo Nketsi described the championship “as a great opportunity to showcase their skills and talents especially because they come from an area that is undermined and underdeveloped”.  

Florida Park High School was crowned the overall Sophiatown Netball Champions and walked away with a trophy after they played four times and beat three teams. Ntombizandile Ngwenya, who plays Florida Park’s Centre (C) won player of the tournament. 

A netball clinic facilitated by the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Netball Academy and a career guidance session by Wits University were part of the developmental part of the tournament.  

Mkhatshwa, said that they are “to raise awareness about the world cup and to resuscitate netball in schools by placing coaches from UJ in the schools and giving the schools netball equipment”. This work is part of her constituency work as a member of parliament.  

Coach Makhosazane Sithole from Westbury High School told Wits Vuvuzela that “the championship is good for exposure because it shows the girls that netball can take them far and what netball can do for them outside Westbury”.  

Mkhathswa added that drugs are a huge problem in the community, and sports  can be used to keep youngsters off the streets.  

The girls were full of excitement and shock some even started screaming “forever yena”, a pop culture reference for love and adoration while others cried after Lesufi made the announcement.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Westbury Secondary School and Riverlea High School battle it out for a goal. Photo: Mbalenhle Dlamini

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BASKETBALL: Wits Lady Bucks spring win over UJ

Win ‘too close for comfort’, says Wits player while UJ forward rues ‘poor defence and messy offence. 

Wits Lady Bucks beat the UJ Women’s Basketball team 62-57 in a tight game of the Gauteng University Basketball League (GUBL) in Hall 29 at Wits on Sunday, May 21. 

UJ started off strong leaving Wits 13 points behind by the end of the first quarter.  

As the second quarter progressed UJ’s defence weakened as they struggled to gain momentum throughout the rest of the game. Wits, on the other hand, elevated their defence in the second quarter and ended up shooting 25 more baskets. 

Although UJ caught up with Wits, tying the score at 42-42 in the third quarter, their efforts went down the drain as Wits ultimately reigned supreme at the end of the last quarter with a five-point lead. 

“We lacked mental toughness and discipline, which led to our poor defence and messy offence,” said Ariane Bitchong from UJ who played the power-forward position.   

Top scorer of the day, Chineye Eneanya who shot 14 out of the 38 Lady Bucks baskets, told Wits Vuvuzela that, “Although we eventually won the game, it was too close for comfort. If we constantly keep playing like this, we are gonna lose.” 

Twenty-year-old Lady Bucks supporter, and second-year computer science student, Oriinga Maudu,  was full of praises for Eneanya’s performance, emphasising how “She provided value throughout the 35 minutes she played, despite being tired.”

Pleased about the win, Wits Lady Bucks manager Nametso Raltou said, “This win was a confidence boost for the team as the girls now know that it’s possible to win if we all put in the work.” 

The GUBL started on Thursday, May 18, and is jointly hosted by Wits and the University of Pretoria (Tuks). There are 14 teams in total with half being the men’s teams. The league ends on Sunday, May 28. 

So far Wits has played against Varsity College, Vaal University of Technology and UJ.  On Saturday, May 27, they will play against Tshwane University of Technology, and against North West on Sunday, May 28.   

FEATURED IMAGE: A UJ Women’s Basketball team player pushes through a Wits player’s defence. Photo: Nonhlanhla Mathebula

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BASKETBALL: Wits Bucks win at home over UJ Orange Wave 

Wits men’s basketball team defeat 2022 Gauteng Universities Basketball League champions University of Johannesburg (UJ). 

Wits University men’s basketball team secured a 56 – 51 victory over UJ senior men’s team, qualifying for the next stage of the Gauteng Universities Basketball League (GUBL) tournament.  

Wits Bucks’ Jacques Mahanga dribbling from half-court to the rim. Photo: Morongoa Masebe.

The Wits Bucks hosted rivals and defending champions, UJ Orange Wave, on Wits’ west campus in Hall 29, on Sunday May, 21. 

From the first whistle UJ dominated the game, with Peace Famodimu securing two points, only three minutes into the start of the first quarter.  

Wits Bucks responded quickly, equalising the score, but UJ wasted no time in regaining their advantage, with an impressive three-pointer from Nimo Dim. This was the first of the two three-pointers by the same player, that put UJ well in the lead for the rest of the first quarter. 

UJ’s defence seemed impenetrable as the Wits side struggled to keep the ball out of their half of the court. The man-to-man defence of the UJ side helped them apply pressure and maintain possession of the ball. 

The match was tight throughout, although UJ stayed in the lead for most of the first and second quarters, it was always with a one or two-point margin.  

Towards the end of the second quarter, Wits Bucks’ small forward, Panashe Dumbu’s basket brought the score to a tie, after scoring two free throws. Wits quickly gained the lead when shooting guard, Jacques Mahanga dribbled twice past UJ’s tight defence to sink the ball in the hoop, but the lead was short-lived. 

When a Wits player was tackled, the Wits coach shouted profanities at the referee for not calling the foul. The coach’s actions cost the team two technical fouls, resulting in three free throws for the away side. Two of the three free throws hit the mark. 

UJ went into the third quarter without their captain Adrien Belo, who was taken out with an ankle injury at the end of the second quarter.  

The third quarter saw four more points awarded to Wits Bucks, and the gradual end of UJ’s lead.   

Thandiwe Padzuwa, a spectator, told Wits Vuvuzela that “UJ was under pressure, and they started fumbling the ball too much. They started committing a lot of turnovers”. A turnover is a loss of possession, due to fouls or defensive rebounds.  

Wits Bucks strengthened their defence in the last quarter, and had every man tightly marked, making it difficult for UJ to find space to move the ball.  

UJ Player Davison Chivero said his team was expecting to win but they were hesitant. He said Wits Bucks “were winning every chance ball, I think they were a bit more eager to win than we were”.  

Wits Bucks coach Tshiamo Ngakane said that they have beaten UJ before and walked into the game with high expectations, “it’s always a big game, it’s always a tough game, but we have got a good squad.”  

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits Bucks’ Panashe Dumbu (13) defending with both hands up. Photo: Morongoa Masebe.

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WITH GALLERY: Wits reses battle it out

The All Res Sports Day brings students living at Wits University residences together, in a day of sweaty but friendly play.  

The All Res Sun-Council (ARSC) hosted their annual sports day at Digs field, pitting residences against one other for a podium finish.

Barnato Hall, Noswal Hall, David Webster Hall, Wits Junction, Girton Hall, Sunnyside Hall, Jubilee Hall, Reith Hall, Amani, Braamfontein Centre Residence, Medhurst Hall, West Campus Village, Knockando Hall, Ernest Oppenheimer Hall (EOH) and Men’s Res took to the fields and courts to compete on May 13, 2023. 

Sports such as netball, soccer, basketball, touch rugby, chess and indigenous games were played throughout the day.  

ARSC media officer, Basetsane Sithole said “This year we are really excited to try make it as big as possible [by] involving sponsors such as Redbull; this is an event for us to get the reses back together again because we haven’t done anything like this since O-week [orientation week].” 

Khethani Makhithi, Junction men’s soccer coach said, “Junction is not a well-established football team with a strong heritage like Knockendo which is known for its football prowess.”  

Makhithi said even though the match against Knockando ended in a 1-1 draw, but won in penalties, he believes it was a tight game throughout.  

Asemahle Mazamela, netball referee during a clash off between Wits Junction and Noswal said that the match went well besides the fact that “the other team [Wits Junction] only had 5 players but they tried,” which unfortunately led them to an early knockout. 

Phenyo Leornard Moje, a player for Noswal netball team was injured in the first quarter of the final match against Barnato. He felt guilty for not being able to help his team in the first two quarters of the match. Despite not being fully healed, he decided to rejoin the game in third and fourth quarter of the match. 

At the end of the sports day, the reses who came third, second and first place each received trophies and medals.  

The first-place winners were:  

  • EOH in touch rugby, men’s basketball  
  • Barnato in netball, Barnato in women’s basketball and Barnato in women’s soccer 
  • Braam Centre in men’s soccer 
  • Men’s res in chess 
  • Reith Hall in all the indigenous games 
  • The spirit award was given to David Webster  

The games all ended in high spirits as the winners celebrated and danced on the courts, Neliswa Mpangeni, one of the spectators from Noswal Hall said that she has been at Digs filed since 8 in the morning and enjoyed supporting her team who were participating in the different sports. 

The sports day concluded with roaring cheers and jubilation. The reses showcased their skills and sportsmanship, plus made memories were made that would last a lifetime. 

FEATURED IMAGE: EOH playing touch rugby against Men’s res Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya

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TENNIS: Advanced players go toe to toe 

Wits university’s advanced tennis team played in the intra-Wits club championship, pitting the very best against one another in a fast-paced tournament. 

Seth Thorne (21), honours in journalism student and Wits Vuvuzela journalist, put down his pen and notebook on May 13, 2023 and picked up his tennis racquet to compete and win the internal championship.  

It was a long way to the top for players, needed to play and win eight matches to get to the final. The semi-finals saw Thorne beat Ciaran Swartz with a score of 6-1,6-2 while Roberto Da Silva beat Salmaan Bhatti, who withdrew his second set as he was suffering from fatigue and the overall score was 6-0. 

Bozzoli tennis court was the stage for the David and Goliath battle between finalists Thorne and Da Silva, Wits’ number one player on 2022.  

In the final, Thorne won the first set of the finals, 4-3, after long and good rallies. Da Silva fought back in the second set, which ended in a tiebreak.  

The tiebreaker was short, but filled with intense saves from either side of the court. Thorne ended the set with a win, with a score of 6-4,4-6,10-6. 

Thorne played defensively and minimized unforced errors to ensure consistent wins set after set. He also made sure that he gets every ball back with good positioning so that he puts his opponent under pressure to make mistakes, which worked in his favour.  

Roberto Da Villa throwing the ball in the air, about to serve his opponent at in the tournament.

Da Silva said, “it was nice playing with Seth for a change. The game was very intense, and emotionally and mentally challenging, especially playing the icebreaker”. 

The champion claimed prioritising fun over winning was the key to success, “I was able to play so much better” in that mindset he said. 

Spectator, Neo Matutuane said, “The games were interesting, some of the scores don’t reflect how close the matches were.”  

“What I’ve seen today from the players is courage, strength, determination, and resilience. Our finalists are dedicated club members and have shown that to preparations leading to the tournament,” stated the chairperson of the team, Connel Manhica. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Thorne after getting a point in the finals. Photo: Boitumelo Masalesa

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RUGBY: Lions roar to victory  

The Lions triumphed with a dominant 40-19 victory over the junior Springboks, showcasing their rugby prowess.  

In a gripping showdown at Wits rugby stadium on May 11, 2023, the u/20 Springboks fell short against the Lions in an action-packed friendly rugby match.  

The Lions’ scrum-half secures the ball after the scrum in the match. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya

In the first half of the match the junior Springboks seemed to be in control, scoring the opening five point try of the match followed by a successful two-point conversion kick. 

Shortly after, the Lions scored their first try and conversion kick, bringing the scoreboard to an even 7-7. The junior Springboks answered with, yet another try and conversion to gain a seven-point lead. But that was short lived as the Lions quickly matched them with another try and conversion, ending the first half on 14 points apiece.  

The second half of the match got off to a slower start, but the same pace of play was quickly picked up 10 minutes into the half, when the Lions scored a try that saw them in the lead with 21-14. Just a few minutes later another try shot them up to 26-14.  

A decisive scrum saw the junior Springboks wrestle back some momentum, but it was not enough to stop yet another try and conversion by the Lions, who sat pretty at 33-14. By the end of the game, the junior Springboks only added five points to their side of the scoreboard, while the Lions won with a 21-point difference.  

The Lions and u/20 Springboks fans are mixed-seated on the grandstands and they intensely watch the friendly rugby game. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya

The energy from the field could be felt in the stands as fans’ audible excitement accompanied every tackle and try.  

Prince Mavundla, a spectator said, “The game was really nice; even though the Lions were dominating the game, my favourite team is the [junior Springboks].” 

Kelly Mpeku, who plays the outside-centre for the Lions and first try scorer of the match said, “It was a good game [and] very physical. I’m glad the boys [teammates] came through at the end of the day.” 

Springbok coach, Bafana Nhleko said that the match is part of their journey and the team’s learning curve that will prepare them for their match against the Sharks on Monday, 15. 

FEATURED IMAGE: The ball is thrown in during a lineout and secured by one of the junior Springboks. Photo: Ayanda Mgwenya

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FOOTBALL: Stalemate for Knockando and Men’s Res  

Men’s Res FC midfielder Obakeng Leping and Knockando winger Lehlohonolo Ramoreboti sprinting towards the ball as the spectators watch on. Photo: Otsile Swaratlhe

Teams play a friendly match, to force the Wits Internal League’s hand, after fixtures postponed. 

Knockando FC failed to hold on to a 2-0 lead as Men’s Res FC came back from behind, equalising in the 87th minute in a friendly match at Wits Digs Field on Saturday, May 6. 

In what was supposed to be part of the second round of fixtures in the Wits Internal Football  League, the teams could not allow their match to be postponed yet again.  

The match initially scheduled for Tuesday, May 3, was put on ice following concerns over security. Mhleli Sibeko (27), a subcommittee member of the league said in the past fights that have broken out during this fixture “[the league] must take other things into consideration before [Men’s Res and Knockando] are allowed to play.” 

The match started in Men’s Res’ favour who showed dominance over Knockando during the first 20 minutes of the first half by creating the most chances and having great possession of the ball. Their failure to convert that dominance into goals was to be punished in the 24th minute by a goal from Knockando’s striker Kulani Khoza. 

Men’s Res continued to keep the ball away from Knockando but they were caught getting a bit too comfortable with being in possession approaching the 34th minute. Men’s Res goalkeeper Ntando Mvundlela attempted to pass the ball from the back and Knockando striker, Lehutso Matsimela quickly intercepted the misdirected pass, scoring a second goal.  

Men’ Res FC defender Tshepo Mothiba running to retrieve the ball as
his teammate watches on in the background. Photo: Otsile Swaratlhe

Knockando’s defence eventually gave in to Men’s Res’ extensive pressure  towards the end of the first half when Owami Cele scored to make the score 2-1.  

Halftime proved to be important for Men’s Res as they came back stronger in the second 45-minutes of the match. They almost scored in the 64th minute when Mooze Magangane had a one-on-one opportunity – with only the goalkeeper to beat – and missed the target. 

After 8-minutes, Men’s Res striker Siphamandla Msipha was brought down in Knockando’s 18-yard  area but the cries for a penalty fell on deaf ears as no foul was awarded. 

Knockando only had two attacking opportunities in the second half but none of them were on-target.  

After crossing the 85th minute mark with Knockando still leading, it looked like they might end up winning the match.  

However, the 87th minute proved otherwise as Msipha had the last kick of a well worked team goal to end the game at 2-2. 

After failing to get official communication from the league, the managers of both teams brought the teams out on Saturday to “show the management that [Men’s Res and Knockando] can put their rivalry aside for the love of the beautiful game,” said Knockando’s manager, Mpumelelo Msani (23).

It remains unknown as to when this match will be officially played in the internal league.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Men’s Res FC defender Sandile Mlala (right) being challenged for the ball by Knockando FC striker Lehutso Matsimela (left). Photo: Otsile Swaratlhe

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Despite a win, Wits bows out of the basketball season

Wits Bucks miss the playoffs of the ICSL league but bag an epic win in their final game.

UP-Tuks players defend Wits Buck’s Umtha Mavuso as he takes a shot. Photo: Sbongile Molambo

Wits Bucks emerge victorious in their last game of the Inner-City Super League (ICSL) season at Hall 29, Wits University on May 5, with an exhilarating score of 74-65.

The Wits Bucks took on the University of Pretoria (UP-Tuks) in the regional club basketball league. The boys in blue were off to a great start and took the lead in the first quarter of the match. But the opponents, UP-Tuks did not take their dominance lying down, increasing their defensive capabilities in the second half to bringing on a 32-32 stalemate by half time.

In the third and fourth quarters of the game, Wits Bucks maintained their stronghold. The home team did not hold back and blocked every advance Tuks made. Wits player Umtha Mavuso intensely blocked off Tuks player Aku Malaila from passing the ball. However, UP-Tuks came back strong for the final quarters of the game thus increasing their momentum and closing the third quarter with a score of 45-46. As the game got more intense the home side made a couple of foul plays which resulted in UP-Tuks being awarded two penalty shots.

Five minutes before the match ended Wits was leading with a score of 70-65 against their rivals.

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, UP-Tuks player Aku Malaila, said, “I think it was a good game it went down to the wire.” Malaila added that it was a good fight overall both from Wits and Tuks.

Head coach of Wits Bucks, Siyabonga Kana, said it was a good way to send the guys off in terms of the season as this was their last game. He added that the team finished fifth in the log, meaning they narrowly miss a spot in the upcoming playoffs, which will be the league’s deciding matches.

A spectator at the game, Emmanuel Maiza, said: “I feel like Wits pulled through especially with their defence. Defence won them their game.” Maiza attributed the Wits win to the team’s “high intensity.”

FEATURED IMAGE: UP-Tuks coach Kweyama briefing the team during the second half of the game. Photo: Sbongile Molambo

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Goalless draw for Wits and Jomo Cosmos 

by Lesedi Maako | April 5, 2023 

No win in the last game of the season in the ABC Motsepe League. 

It ended in a stalemate for Wits University and Jomo Cosmos Football Club as they wrapped up the ABC Motsepe League after battling it all out on Workers Day, Monday, May 1 at Sturrock Park Wits University in Braamfontein 

The tight game started with Wits showing dominance with ball possession, almost scoring in the 12th minute of the first half, while Jomo Cosmos seemed to be biding their time in the first 20 minutes.   

Twenty-four minutes into the game Jomo Cosmos started to make their moves, with three shots on goal in quick succession. Feeling the pressure, Wits midfielder, Tebogo Mandyu tried but failed to make contact with the back of the net. Instead, many balls off Wits players boots made contact with the goal

Wits and Comsos players checking the injury of the Wits player on the ground on May 1, 2023 at Sturrock Park, Braamfontein. Photo: Lesedi Maako

The Wits defence was also incredibly strong in the first 45 minutes of the game with Cosmos having seen most of their goal scoring opportunities turn into fouls. Wits showed a fair amount of dominance and possession in the first half. 

The second half came with yellow cards, one for Wits’ Lehlohonolo Mollo and three for Jomo Cosmos, a signifier of the tension and frustration on the field.   The last minute of the second half saw Wits miss an opportunity to score a goal just as the final whistle went.  

Mandyu midfielder from Wits expressed his disappointment to Wits Vuvuzela, “The game was very physical, and we wanted to win and could’ve done better,” he said. While an opponent from Jomo Cosmos, Ange Lebahe said that he wanted to win but a draw is okay as it is only the first season. 

Wits University Coach Andile Zulu said, “In the first half they were able to secure the ball better and had a few passes and chances whilst the second half also had many chances especially in the last minute.  

 Wits supporter also weighed in.  Sthandile Mthetwa said “It was a tough game as there were shots on target, it’s a war as Wits shows communication but getting the goal is a struggle”. Whereas Luyanda Mfusi said “wits shoots on target and on point, their ball position is fine. Jomo Cosmos is also playing but they are making too many mistakes”. 

The outcome of the game leaves both teams remaining in the top ten where Cosmos is in third place with Wits at the tenth spot of the league. The teams will await the Nedbank Cup Preliminary round whilst the ABC Motsepe League will resume in the third quarter of the year. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits and Cosmos players fighting for the ball possession. Photo: Lesedi Maako

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