The TUT Men’s Football team has knocked city rivals UP-Tuks out of this year’s Varsity Football competition with a 1-0 score. The two sides locked horns in a vigorous semi-final at the Tuks Stadium last night.
The “Red Machine” as the team is known, booked the first spot in this year’s finals to earn themselves a third Varsity Football final appearance since 2016, when they won the competition, before losing against Tuks last year in a very emotive clash between these Tshwane giants.
The two sides were meeting for the second time this year in what was dubbed as a highly competitive clash, given the history between them. Earlier in the competition, TUT thrashed Tuks 2-1 in their own yard. Coming into this match it was no secret that the 2017 champions will seek to pay revenge against TUT.
Both sides opened the match on a steady note, attacking from the wings but very cautious in the middle of the park, knowing exactly what they are both capable of doing to one another. Despite a few shots at goal from both sides, nothing could separate them till they went to the half time with a 0-0 score.
The second half started with the hosts opening with attacks from the left side, but coach, Bushy Moloi, then tried his “counter attack” trick through right winger, Thabiso Lebitso, but failed to finish in front of goal. TUT’s Lebogang Phatlane made another attempt, but his shot was out of target. At exactly 52 minutes into the match, Tuks’ Dylan Murchie missed a well-curled cross that left him with the keeper, but pounced the ball way above the goals.
When the crowd thought this match will be decided in a penalty shootout, it was the Red Machines’ captain, Elliot Seema, who rose to the challenge and slotted the first and only goal of the match to hand TUT a victory for the second time against Tuks at the 69th minute.
In an exclusive post-match interview, Seema said he thinks they defended very well and waited for the right moment. The Mokopane-born defender said his side displayed a fantastic effort and played their hearts out. “We did everything in our power to walk away with a victory. I am thrilled that we are going to the finals again and, this time, we are in it to win it and reclaim what is ours (the trophy),” he added.
According to Kegoikantse Kgomo, Senior Sport Organiser, the team played very well and they are proud of its achievements in this competition. “We are representing the People’s University and happy that we are flying the TUT flag high,” Kgomo said.
Coach Moloi said the result is exactly what they had planned for as a team. He added that through all the challenges, they have managed to do well and represent their beloved People’s University by restoring its pride and dignity. He thanked TUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Lourens van Staden, and the entire EMC for having faith in the team, including the Director of Sport and Recreation, HOD’s and the TUT Football Forum for their continuous support.
Shadrack Nthangeni, Director of Sport and Recreation, expressed his sincere appreciation to coach Moloi and the Red Machine boys for their remarkable performance, which ensured that they qualify for the 2018 Varsity Football Final against Wits, after playing the entire season away from home. “The boys have done it against all odds. My office is humbled by their commitment. We wish them the best of luck with the final,” he concluded.
FNB Player of the Match: Vusi Sibiya (TUT)
Samsung Moment of Brilliance: Elliott Seema (TUT)
Debonairs Pizza Real Deal Save: Sikhumbuzo Ncube (TUT)
Goal: Elliott Seema
UP-Tuks: Giovanni Idi (GK), Siphesihle Sosibo, Simbongile Njokwe (C), Chinedu Okolo, Sabelo Tsambo, Claudio De Almeida, Katlego Motlhatsang, Lebohang Montueli, Jeremiah Nkwana, Dylan Murchie, Jurgen Booysen.
Subs: Yurie Mortimer (GK), Simthembile Ndimande, Sive Mfala, Nhlanhla Tsomele, Kagiso Mabusela, Tshimologo Huma, Nhlanhla Mabaso.
TUT: Sikhumbuzo Ncube (GK), Elliot Seema (C), Vusi Sibiya, Tumelo Mphela, Rorisang Rapelang, Nthabeleng Tshoba, Godfrey Mahlala, Ogorositswe Tabane, Lebogang Phatlane, Thabiso Lebitso, Melusi Vilakazi
Subs: Mpho Nhlapo, Paul Mnisi, Ofentse Tlholoe, Biopelo Molale, Emmanuel Mahlangu, Moses Lehlomela, Siyamthanda Topi.
By Mokete Radebe