The University of Pretoria did not get the defence of their Varsity Football title off to the greatest of starts as they were beaten 2-1 by the Tshwane University of Technology at the Tuks Football Stadium in Round One of the 2018 edition of the premier university competition in South Africa.
The match was similar to last year’s season opener against the same opponents as the home team dominated proceedings from the get go but they just could not convert their opportunities into goals.
UP-Tuks head coach, Tlisane Motaung, put the opening round loss down to the early goal they conceded, the youthful team and the tournament’s history.
“I believe we started off extremely well but we lost focus once we conceded that first goal in the 12th minute. We just could not recover from it which could be because of our inexperienced team. We have several new players with some of them playing in their first Varsity Football tournament so the moment may just have been too big,” said Motaung.
“Having said that, the coaching staff are extremely confident in our players. We have a talented bunch of guys who can go all the way and they will grow in confidence as they gain experience,” he continued.
“To be honest, I think the team was distracted with trying to break the streak of UP-Tuks losing every opening fixture since the tournament’s inception in 2013. The fact is, history has repeated itself again and we need to make it up against UJ,” he added.
UP-Tuks have no choice but to bounce back against the University of Johannesburg in Round Two but their turnaround will be made difficult by a rampant UJ outfit that netted seven goals and conceded just one in their opening match against the University of Limpopo.
“We definitely have our work cut out for ourselves. UJ are enjoying pole position on the log while we have zero points. However, we are determined not to take the difficult road as we did last year where we were sitting on two points after three matches,” stated a positive Motaung.
“We are focusing on the small things going forward and we have the ability to get back to winning ways against UJ which we owe to ourselves and our supporters,” he added.
The University of Pretoria travel to the University of Johannesburg as they face off in Round 2 of Varsity Football at the UJ Stadium on Thursday, 2 August. Kick-off is at 18:15 and will be televised on SuperSport 10.
By Dan Lombard