SOCCER: Wits men lose to neighbours UJ

The Wits Football Club Men’s side suffered a blow after losing 1-0 to the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Tuesday evening.

The winning goal was struck by Lindani Mazibuko after a set piece that had been awarded to UJ due to an unfair tackle on one of their players in the first 35 minutes of the game.

The first match of the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Gauteng Football League saw UJ dominating in the first half of the game. UJ head coach Bradley Carnell explained it was a “calculated approach from the team” to ensure that they play well enough to win the first game of the season.

The combination of Treasure Dlamini, Tshepo Tolo, Sadro Claro and Tebogo Mandy made for entertaining viewing as they attacked the Wits defense coming from the left side of the park in the first half of the match.

With the beginning of the second half, the game seemed to even out with both teams attacking equally.

Wits pushed forward with a good offense but missed a few goal chances.

“They will improve as in the last 15 mins the boys were starting to cramp and stuff so not really lack of fitness but really lack real competitive match fitness.”

The Wits combination of Ayanda Makua and Gift Baloyi kept the pressure on the opposition’s defense, but UJ rose to the occasion by ensuring that Wits could not break them down completely.

In a counter attack at 50 minutes, Dlamini missed two perfect scoring opportunities in order to extend their lead by hitting the crossbar and side bar in less than a minute.

The last 20 minutes of the game saw Wits attacking UJ steadily but despite the team’s efforts and the fans’ singing, the match ended 1-0.

Wits coach Karabo Mogudi acknowledged that UJ had been playing in other competitive tournaments and that gave them an advantage in Tuesday’s game.

Mogudi added that Wits failed to achieve a competitive edge due to a lack of “real competitive match fitness”.

The Wits women’s and men’s teams are set to play against the Tshwane University of Technology on the 17th of March 2015 at Bidvest Stadium. Kickoff is at 6:30pm and 8:30pm.


WITH VIDEO: Wits misses out on Varsity soccer tournament

MOVING FORWARD: Wits University coach, Karabo Mogudi, puts his team through their paces before their USSA Gauteng league match against TUT.

MOVING FORWARD: Wits University Football Club (W.U.F.C) coach, Karabo Mogudi, puts his team through their paces before their USSA Gauteng league match against TUT.               Photo: Nqobile Dludla

WITS will not compete in this year’s Varsity Sports soccer tournament, since the men’s team failed to make it into the top three of the 2013 University Sports South Africa (USSA) Gauteng league.

Wits only finished fifth in the Gauteng league. To qualify for the Varsity soccer tournament, the top three teams competed in a national USSA tournament held in December. The top eight of the 16 teams qualified for the Varsity soccer tournament.

Why did Wits Not Qualify?

Commenting on the difficulty of the qualifying process, head of Wits soccer, Dennis Tshabalala told Wits Vuvuzela: “Gauteng is like South America in the FIFA World Cup. It is the most difficult route … Our seventh team in Gauteng can beat teams from the other regions who have qualified for the national tournament.”

Wits soccer had an unfortunate year in 2013, Tshabalala added. In 2012 they qualified for the 2013 Varsity tournament and everything went well. In contrast, qualification for the 2014 tournament had many issues, including injuries and suspensions. This was put down to an overworked squad, said Tshabalala, who played in many matches and tournaments.

How is the team currently doing?

Wits are currently doing well in this year’s qualification process and are in the hands of Karabo Mogudi, who has a level three South African Football Association coaching badge.

Three Bidvest Wits academy players have come to study at Wits and are currently playing for the team, which shows the good relationship between the university and the Clever Boys, Thshabalala said.

Asked about the university soccer structures, he said: “USSA has always been a platform to showcase talent.” Wits had one of their very own, Tefu Mashamaite, scouted at the USSA national tournament a few years ago and he now plays for Kaizer Chiefs.

Wits’ next game is against Tswane University of Technology on Tuesday, April 29 and they will be looking to continue their good form in the USSA Gauteng league, which sees them currently coming third on the 2014 log.

VIDEO: Dennis Tshabalala talks to Wits Vuvuzela about Wits soccer not playing the 2014 Varsity Soccer tournament.