Here is a look at factors that could be the reason for the USSA champions’ poor start:
Inexperience on the bigger stage
Some would argue that UKZN’s inexperience in the Varsity Football tournament could be the reason that the Impi have had a poor start and have not yet recorded a win after three rounds. UKZN have begun the tournament against experienced sides of the tournament, Wits pipped them 3-2 even after UKZN led the match as reality sunk in fast.
In the second match they played USSA finalists and rivals NWU and were thumped 2-0 on the away team’s night of vengeance. Again the argument of the teams inexperience could be raised by some as the two goals came through crucial defensive negligence. One goal came through a penalty and the other a simple through-ball watched by the defense, which allowed the opponents to tap in an easy goal. It could have been worse as a second penalty was also awarded following some sloppy defensive work.
Was their USSA victory a fluke?
A common theory is now that UKZN’s USSA championship victory was a fluke and was by luck and chance. By the look of their results, this is possible, but improbable. In the USSA finals UKZN claimed victories over the best teams. The likes of NWU and UJ, and with convincing results. They outclassed the Varsity Football goal-firing UJ and in the final of the tournament, they thrashed the boys from North West 4-2. These two victories alone show the quality that new boys UKZN possess.
Lack of preparation?
This could be the more sensible reason to the start that UKZN has had in their debut tournament. In their two defeats, UKZN have been lacking the winning mojo they had at the beginning of the past month at the University Sports South Africa championships. They have been penalised in both performances by mistakes and a failure to replicate the mentality they had in the triumphant tournament. These could be signs of lack of preparation.
They will be, however, looking to prove critics wrong next week when they host second-on-the-log UJ. It doesn’t get much easier for UKZN, but what better way to silence your critics than with a victory over one of the tournament favourites?
By Mpendulo Letsoalo