VarsityFootball: Title holders eager to remain on top
Defending champions, TUT, set the pace in emphatic fashion
The Varsity Football is in its fifth season, since its inception in 2013, and the log is taking shape as we approach the business end of the competition, which will conclude on 28 September 2017.
Defending champions, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), had an impeccable 2016 season after heading into the final as the only undefeated side. The 2-1 victory over the University of Johannesburg (UJ) led to them claiming a nine-match winning streak, the longest in Varsity Football history.
This season, however, a new-look TUT side have been in impressive form. Coming off an opening round draw against neighbours UP-Tuks and the 2016 champions are the only side not to have lost a single match. Wins against UFH, UJ and CUT – all away from home – have helped them rocket to the top of the log after four rounds. TUT have scored 11 goals and conceded none in their last three outings. They have, however, conceded one goal, in their season opener against UP-Tuks.
Despite being the only unbeaten side, head coach, Bushy Moloi believes that the pressure is on every team who wants to qualify for the semi-finals after the round robin stages.
“We don’t have pressure at all, the pressure is on everyone to win,” says Moloi. “The same pressure that UWC have, we have too. They want to be in the top four. I [TUT] want to be in the top four. It’s not about being the champions or not, everyone wants to be in the top four [qualify for the semi-finals].”
The TUT Stadium is known for their sell-out crowds. Last year’s final saw a capacity crowd reached even before kick-off. Support of that nature has a psychological boost on the home team and coach Bushy acknowledges this amazing support.
“Indeed they are playing a big role, they are very important. That is the first community that we need to impress. The desire to do well is based on the fact that we have such a strong supporter base.”
This coming week, TUT host UWC on Monday 28 August in a top-of-the-table clash. UWC are experiencing one of their best seasons in years, since winning the title in 2015. Players like Themba Ndlovu, Vusi Sibiya and goalkeeper Sikhumbuzo Ncube, have been some of the stand-out players for TUT. But Moloi believes that the entire group of management and players are why they have been enjoying so much success.
“Themba [Ndlovu] is doing well, everyone is doing well. Even the goalkeepers are doing great. I cannot single out players that will be like saying they (standout players) are better than the others. Fortunately, as a team we play our roles, from the technical team, the management and the players. The targets that we set for ourselves, we achieve. We are where we are in the season because everyone is doing well. Midfielders, attackers, defenders and even the supporters are doing well. Everyone is doing their job and that is why we are there [top of the log].”
TUT will host UWC on Monday, 28 August in their Round Five clash. Should UWC walk away victorious, not only would they end TUT’s unbeaten run, but they will also top the log. Should the match end in a draw or TUT take all three points, TUT will remain on top.