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.  

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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Orlando Pirates grab Wits Kudus by the horns

The dream to finish in the top five of the Johannesburg Men’s Regional League takes a knock as Wits lose at home.

Wits Kudus Football Club lost 2-3 after a nail-biting match against Orlando Pirates Football Club on Saturday, April 22, at the Wits Marks Park Sports Club in Emmarentia.

This came after two consecutive losses in the Johannesburg Men’s Regional League against Inqaba FC and Orange Army FC. As a result, the Kudus remain in ninth place, while Orlando Pirates FC are fourth. 

The scorching sun foreshadowed the high intensity match that was to come as Orlando Pirates dominated the first half of the match with Siyabonga Ngwenya, France Modiba and Lukho Ziwele scoring within 35 minutes. Wits striker Siyamdumisa Zulu managed to secure their first goal in the 40th minute.  

During the second half, Kudu midfielder Thembalethu Machaba came to the rescue in the 63rd minute by scoring the team’s second goal. Pirates goalkeeper, Jayden Van Der Walt, successfully blocked a goal attempt by left winger, Sithembiso Mkhwanazi, in the 87th minute.  

Kudus goalkeeper Samkele Shilubana was not happy about the team’s performance in the first half. “It was a bad game. My first mistake [was] within the first [few] minutes of the game which led to a drop in the confidence of the team [and] from that point [onwards] the whole game just switched.”  

Orlando Pirates player, Malesela Modiba, and Wits Kudus player, Katlego Moruane, race for the ball. Photo: Rethabile Mafisa

However, he remained hopeful for the next game. “It is just a matter of working harder to rectify mistakes in the next game which will boost [the team’s] confidence and take on the remaining games in the league perfectly,” said Shilubana.  

A spectator, Paballo Mazibuko, commended the Kudus for taking more control of the game in the second half and said Pirates were lucky not to concede more goals. 

With 33 points, the Kudus have seven games left to try for a spot in the top five of the league.

Kudus coach Musawenkosi Ngobese commended striker Siyamdumisa Zulu for his performance. “He has been a better player for the past couple of games. He showed a lot of consistency and hunger and fighting for the team, but unfortunately a team consists of 11 players; you cannot do it alone.”  The Kudus’ next match is scheduled for April 27 against Bossolona FC at Trezona Park, Roodepoort. In their previous encounter, on March 15, the Kudus beat Bossolona FC  4-3. 

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits Kudus distraught after losing against Orlando Pirates at Marks Park Sports Club on Saturday April 22. Photo: Rethabile Mafisa

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Pele Pele hold Wits to goalless draw 

The Braamfontein side is languishing in 10th position after it had topped the log at the beginning of the season.  

Wits University Football Club and Pele Pele Football Club were forced to settle for a goalless draw on Saturday, April 22, hindering both teams from moving up in the Gauteng ABC Motsepe League.  

In a thrilling game, Witsies started the first half strongly as they were dominating the game. On the other hand, Randburg stars Pele Pele were struggling with possession. Out of eight chances Wits created, three were on target, threatening the Pele Pele goalkeeper, Tsebo Tsotetsi. One hit the goal post, denying Wits a goal. At the other end, Pele Pele managed to create five chances with only two on target.  

Towards the end of the first half Pele Pele were awarded a penalty due to a handball. Fortunately for Witsies, the ball deflected off the crossbar. Halftime statistics showed two yellow cards for Pele Pele, against Siyabonga Buda for rough tackling and Tshepo Kakora for wasting time.  

In the second half, tables turned as Pele Pele proved to be the hungrier of the two teams, with increased possession and confident display. Pele Pele managed to create an additional five chances with a lot of scrappy passes in between. 

Witsies did not manage a single chance at goal up until the 80th minute when a ball coming in from out wide landed in the box for winger O’Neil Hendriks to break the tie. A heroic block on the line from Pele Pele defender Nhlakanipho Myeza was a decisive moment in the match.  

Three minutes of extra time were added but neither team managed to score, and when the final whistle blew, the score was still 0-0. Wits football coach Alzavian van Rheede told Wits Vuvuzela that he was not bothered about what the result meant for the team’s position in the league. “It was more the performance that we were looking for, the tactical agreements that we were working on in training because we tried something new today and we’re happy with what we got out of the game.”  

Pele Pele player Neo Mumble and Wits player Hakeem Marx eye the ball. Photo: Aphelele Mbokotho

With 33 matches played so far, Wits are currently 10th on the log. This is a far cry from November 2022 when, after eight matches, Wits topped the log. They went on to lose 12 matches, and now, with 47 points, are left with two games to try and make it into the top eight. 

Seemingly the Braamfontein side has accepted that this season is a loss as winger Hendriks told Wits Vuvuzela that, “We are not fighting for anything now, we just want to enjoy the games that are left.” 

Mncedisi Sibiya, football coach of Pele Pele, said that the result was disappointing as the third-placed team, with 66 points, was chasing the second spot. “We hope that the [Soweto Super United FC] throws or loses the game, but we still have two games to play. We will keep on pushing. We will get the two points [necessary to move up].” 

Centre back of Pele Pele, Neo Mumble, said, “I think we should have won this game given that we played better than these guys. It was a tough, good game.“ 

Wits will next play away to Tembisa-based M Tigers Football Club on Thursday, April 27. The venue is yet to be confirmed.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits player, Lehlohonolo Mollo, wins the ball, leaving Pele Pele’s Neo Mumble in the dust. Photo: Aphelele Mbokotho

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