On Monday afternoon, Wits University hosted their Varsity Football activation at law lawns on the main campus. Loads of fun was had by a number of the Wits football faithful, who got to meet the players representing them at this year’s competition, as well as a chance to participate in a few games where the fans got a chance to win a few prizes and get some tickets to Thursday’s home match at the Bidvest Stadium.
Amongst all the fun and games, Varsity Sports got the opportunity to have a chat with Wits senior team player Mahle Mtabane. Mahle is currently 21-years-old, doing his honours in Media Studies at Wits University.
On managing his footballing career and excelling at university, Mtabane had this to say:
“It’s tough. Recently I missed six days of school. But what I actually try to do, is study a lot when I’m free, so what I can say is that self-studying has worked for me because I have not failed anything and I’ve also managed to get into honours this year.”
Mahle has achieved more than just a degree but has also made some achievements on the field, whilst working on obtaining his qualifications.
“I’ve played for the Under-21 USSA national team, where in the same year (2014), I was also selected for the senior USSA team. We played in a tournament in Zambia but we unfortunately lost in the final. In 2015 I also played in the under-21 tournament with the national team. This year, myself and three teammates will be playing in a tournament in Taipei, which we start to prepare for next week with the national university team.”
Qualifying for Varsity Football is never easy. It’s a long process that many don’t get to see.
“Getting into this season’s campaign of Varsity Football was really tough. We were first pitted in the group of death at USSA, but we managed to come out first. In the end however, we came eighth overall. For me this year was definitely the toughest year. So in essence, it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get where we are now. I still believe we will get far in the tournament, our mind-set has just got to be right.”
Wits have had a tough start to the competition, first losing 6-0 to UWC before going down 4-1 to NWU.
Varsity Sports and other great sponsors, have afforded student athletes to play sport while they study towards solidifying their futures.
“Varsity Football is a great platform for us as students – to be able to still pursue our passion but study towards careers we are also passionate about. We appreciate it as players and students, because it gives us exposure to clubs while we study. It also goes to prove that as footballers we can be well educated and play the game.”
Catch Wits live at the Bidvest Stadium at 6.30pm on Thursday evening, when they go in search of their first points in the tournament against CUT.
By Sifiso Nyawo