The defending champions UP-Tuks may have had to compete with an inexperienced squad this year because of their senior players moving onto professional football teams or starting their working careers but inexperience does not equate to pure talent.
Giovanni Idi, the 18-year-old goalkeeper, is one such player as he has been phenomenal in his first year of Varsity Football for the Stripe Generation. He has already proven his weight in gold as he was awarded the Debonairs Real Deal Save award against Wits and the University of Limpopo which has been humbling for the former BESA Leadership Academy scholar as he describes Varsity Football as a “tough competition”.
“The level of competition between the universities is high which really tests us as players. There are no easy matches, especially for us as teams lift their game against the defending champions. Varsity Football has provided the necessary link between school and professional football which in turn will help to grow the beautiful game in South Africa,” said Idi, who supports Orlando Pirates and Manchester City.
His Varsity Football career may have never materialized if it was not for his father, Emilio, who encouraged the talented youngster to pursue a degree so that his future can be ensured.
Check him ot in action last week
Idi enrolled at the University of Pretoria and opted to study a BA in Sports Science with an eye on studying business in the future. He may have been hesitant to study at first but has since changed his tune after realizing the importance of earning a degree.
“To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking about studying before my father brought it up. He has been my biggest supporter, was my first coach and there isn’t a single thing that I do without consulting him first,” he explained.
“However, I have come to realise that it is important to prepare for the future. I would like to give it my all as a professional player because I enjoy challenging myself but once that is done I would like to prove myself in the business world,” he added.
Idi’s football post-school has exploded with the goalkeeper signing his first professional contract with the National First Division outfit, AmaTuks, and although he has marked off his first achievement, it is the overseas arena where he truly wants to shine.
“I’m proud to say that I’m part of a quality team like AmaTuks and I want to help them to qualify for the PSL. I want to earn my stripes in South Africa so that I can earn a contract in the EPL or Serie A. That is ultimately where I want to end up as a footballer,” said Idi.
Varsity Football is nearing its business end with two rounds of the regular season left before the playoffs and supporters can expect only bigger and better things of Idi as he looks to leave a lasting impression in South Africa’s premier university football competition.
By Dan Lombard