UKZN’s attacking partners, Bongumenzi Zulu and Nkosinathi Sibeko have been the silver lining to their team’s rough start to the Varsity Football season.
Were it not for lapses of concentration in the last five minutes of both UKZN’s games to date, the narrative of their second season in the Varsity Football tournament could be completely different.
Instead, the Impi sit at the foot of the table having lost both of their two opening encounters, putting themselves under immense pressure to achieve the top four finish they desire.
That all being said, the performances of Bongumenzi Zulu and Nkosinathi Sibeko have been positives.
The two marksmen have each scored, Sibeko doing so in the season-opener against NWU while Zulu netted a cool bottom corner penalty after he was brought down in the box during the televised game against CUT.
Zulu hails from humble beginnings in Umlazi, south-west Durban, and would not have dreamt of the day he played on live television and finding the back of the net.
Similarly, right-winger Nkosinathi Sibeko comes from Bergville, a small village situated in the foothills of the Drakensberg mountains.
In a frank discussion with the two, explaining their partnership, they shared a high level of respect for each other and for the whole team.
“What is important for us as teammates is that we listen to each other on the field, and for us to play effectively we have to listen to each other,” Zulu explained to varsitysportssa.com.
The 23-year-old, who unsurprisingly is nicknamed ‘Shaka’, wears the number nine shirt and leads the UKZN line of attack. Sibeko, meanwhile, emphasised the importance of them assisting each other on the field.
“At the end of the day we have to listen to each other in order for us to have a good combination and play break attacks, we have to help each other,” Sibeko, 22, responded.
If UKZN are to succeed in 2019, after a debut season when they finished second-last on the table, it will take more than just fruitful combination between Zulu and Sibeko. The former, who is completing his fourth year of a Sport Science degree, acknowledged as much.
“We want to score, but in the end we want the team to win, it doesn’t really matter who scores the goal we just want to win,” Zulu concluded.
Following the second round of the season, UFS’ Dylan O’Brien remains the leading scorer as the only player to have scored more than once – though two own goals have now been scored in 2019.
Including Zulu and Sibeko, he now has 18 players on his trail ahead of Round 3 which includes a double header at Tuks Stadium.
TOP GOALSCORERS (after Round 2)
2 – Dylan O’Brien (UFS), Own Goals [Gauta Mokati (UFS), Xhantilomzi Mesana (UWC)]
1 – Thabo Lesibe, Thembinkosi Gwala (all UFS), Luke Vester, Stefan Stuurman (both UWC), Mogau Mphahlele, Ronald Mabasa, Thabiso Lebitso (all TUT), Keegan Faver (UJ), Tshepiso Mahlangu, Israel Matshane, Simphiwe Mlangeni (all NWU), Nkosinathi Sibeko, Bongumenzi Zulu (both UKZN), Phiwokuhle Mpalala, Keitumetse Mabathoana, Mothusi Madilola (all CUT), Siphamandla Ntuli (UP-Tuks)
To see which players make their claim on the Golden Boot, buy your tickets to games for just R10 on the Varsity Sports App available free from the Apple App Store on iOS devices or Google Play store for Android users.
By Mpendulo Letsoalo