The TUT women’s team continue to etch their names deep into the Varsity Women’s Football history books, as they overpowered a resilient UWC team 1-0 to claim the title, much to the delight of their home support in Tshwane on Thursday.
The match was off to a sluggish start, as both teams shook off early final jitters. TUT supporters were already flooding in through the gates, in what was probably the largest crowd that either of the two sides has ever played before.
It didn’t take long for the teams to find their feet, brushing off their nerves. But TUT were looking far more settled in the opening minutes. Just 14 minutes in disaster struck for UWC, when the ball was struck gently towards goalkeeper Jaime-Lee Peters, but bizarrely went straight between her legs and found the back of the net. TUT had their lead and Lebogang Rakhuduwe had the easiest goal of her career.
UWC hung in, but TUT took control of the tie as the first half wore on. Lebogang Rakhuduwe imposed herself in the middle of the park and Letago Madiba caused havoc down the left wing, as she has all tournament.
UWC’s wall at the back – Drishana Pillay – kept them in the game and they would have been relieved to hear the half time whistle. UWC mustered just a single shot in the first half, while TUT enjoyed 63 percent of possession. All their attacks seemed to fizzle out in the final third.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first. TUT had a firm grip on the encounter and the scorline flattered UWC. The Cape side rung the changes, but nothing seemed to work. TUT had all the possession and UWC were left to defend.
With half an hour still to play, it looked as though the altitude was hurting UWC, while TUT could have just stepped onto the park – looking as though they had only just warmed up.
Hearts would have been in the mouths of UWC fans watching at home when Nicole October miscued a clearance in the 73rd minute, which fell into the grateful hands of keeper Peters on the goal line.
UWC weren’t going down without a fight. With TUT a little complacent, UWC managed to dominate possession in the final 10 minutes. Though they still had little to show for it. TUT’s goalkeeper Thabile Malambe had the best seat in the house. She was finally called into action in the 80th minute, after a lapse in concentration in TUT’s defence and Janice Smith snapped a shot at goal, but Malambe held it well.
With extra time ticking down Madiba led the showboating, as TUT wore down the clock, while giving their fans reason to whistle and cheer with some truly South African skill. In the end 60 percent TUT possession and 17 TUT attempts to UWC’s six, told the tale. The referee blew her final whistle, as TUT were crowned champions yet again.
FNB Player of the Match: Rachel Sebati (TUT)
FNB Golden Boot award: Letago Madiba (TUT)
FNB Golden Glove award: Thabile Malambe (TUT)
FNB Player of the Tournament: Lebogang Rakhuduwe (TUT)
TUT: Lebogang Rakhuduwe
TUT: Thabile Malambe, Mapule Nhlapho, Koketso Mahlangu, Koketso Tlailane, Paballo Lepele, Lebogang Rakhuduwe, Maphuti Manamela, Kgomotso Mashilwane, Rachel Sebati, Bontle Mashilo, Letago Madiba
Subs: Petronella Chiloane, Mpho Monangwe, Thabile Malambe, Mmabatho Dire, Lancy Mopana, Cathrine Mokgobole, Salome Kekana, Salome Dikgale
UWC: Jaime-Lee Peters, Drishana Pillay, Nicole October, Miche Oosthuizen, Chamelle Witshire, Lauren Johnathan, Thalea Smidt, Puleng Moremi, Janice Smith, Abongile Dlani, Amogelang Motau
Subs: Nhlamulo Mathebula, Sonja Meyer, Danica Saaiman, Gracious Baloi, Natasha Kleynhans, Ameeda Naidoo