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.
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.
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