TUT made it six Varsity Women’s Football titles in a row, first coming back to draw 1-1 in regulation time with UWC before winning the penalty shootout, 4-1.
UWC started the final the better of the two teams, controlling the bulk of possession and territory in the opening quarter of the match at NWU-Mafikeng Stadium. Despite this fact, their attacking trio of Molatelo Kobo, Janice Smith and Mbaliyethu Mhlongo couldn’t find a clear opening.
In the 18th minute UWC’s pressure told though. TUT’s Nokwanda Shabangu received a weak pass from her goalkeeper Loretta Mokoena, was robbed in by Kobo, and the UWC right-winger beat the onrushing Mokoena with a pass to Smith who duly side-footed home… 1-0 to the underdogs!
In the aftermath of the opener, TUT got a foothold in the game without really threatening the UWC defence – who did catch them off-sides twice and thwarted two corner kicks.
As it happened, Mhlongo very nearly doubled UWC’s lead in the 30th minute, when her left-footed effort hit the post with Mokoena left standing. Kobo misdirected the rebound too.
By the time the half-time whistle went, UWC were full value for their 1-0 lead but coach Thinasonke Mbuli would well have been rueful that they weren’t further ahead. TUT, meanwhile, were yet to find their rhythm…
In truth, neither team did so at the start of the second half which is probably why the next goal came via a mistake.
In the 43rd minute, Magaia tried to latch onto a through ball from Nomhle Sangweni. UWC ‘keeper Regiri Ngobeni seemed to have it smothered but then spilt the ball and the Magaia made no mistake into an unguarded goal – 1-1.
Five minutes later the game took an odd turn. Sinegugu Zondi took a shot at Mokoena which she spilt, before Kobo couldn’t compose herself enough to steer the ball home. In the process the pair collided with the goalkeeper coming off second best.
It took a full 15 minutes for the match to get back underway. While Mokoena was receiving treatment to her head, the TUT technical staff explored their options having not named a reserve goalkeeper on the bench!
When the match got underway, Magaia almost found her way to goal and TUT, in fact, restarted the better of the two teams.
UWC eventually found their rhythm again, without properly testing Mokoena or the TUT defence and the match ended with penalties to ensue.
As it happened, Magaia replaced Mokoena in goal for the penalties and duly became the hero. She saved UWC’s third penalty from Zondi (after Smith hit the upright with the first) and then Khwinana buried the decisive fourth as TUT’s won the shootout 4-1 to claim an unprecedented sixth straight Varsity Women’s Football title.
TUT (0) 1 Hildah Magaia
UWC (1) 1 Janice Smith
TUT win penalty shootout 4-1
FNB Player of the Match: Molatelo Kobo (UWC)
Debonairs Pizza Real Deal Save of the Match: Loretta Mokoena (TUT)
MTN Pulse Moment of Brilliance: Hildah Magaia (TUT)
TUT: 27 Loretta Mokoena, 2 Rofhiwa Dzivhani, 19 Amanda Molefe, 4 Nokwanda Shabangu, 9 Gabonnelwe Kekana, 8 Katlego Khwinana, 13 Pontsho Moshidi, 3 Lerato Williams, 5 Senamile Zulu, 6 Nomhle Sangweni, 7 Hildah Magaia (captain).
Replacements: 10 Lucky Mmakola, 11 Tshegofatso Aphane, 12 Nthabiseng Hlangoane, 14 Salome Dikgale, 17 Mildred Nathane, 21 Lebogang Kotelo, 25 Lesego Mashifane.
Coach: Sipho Mabuza
UWC: 1 Regiri Ngobeni, 14 Nolubabalo Sishuba, 17 Bongeka Gamede (captain), 4 Simnikiwe Mhlakaza, 7 Antonia Maponya, 9 Khanya Xesi, 15 Sinegugu Zondi, 10 Babalwa Mngxunya, 3 Molatelo Kobo, 18 Janice Smith, 13 Mbaliyethu Mhlongo.
Replacements: 25 Londeka Khawula, 11 Morongwa Sekgobela, 12 Holofelang Manyama, 20 Keletso Boshomane, 24 Tshegofatso Senanya.
Coach: Thinasonke Mbuli