It’s been a season filled with outrageous skills, clinical finishers and robust defenders. The task of picking just 11 from the more than 150 Varsity Football players to have graced the pitch, has been an unenviable task. Here is the Varsity Football team of the tournament, as selected by Tshepang Mailwane, regular contributor to Varsity Football and seasoned football analyst and writer.
GK: Dumisani Msibi (TUT)
Nominated for the player of the tournament award, Msibi brought valuable experience and leadership at the back. He kept three clean sheets in the group stage as he made some brilliant saves, including keeping out a penalty against CUT.
RB: Mojuda Matlhanyane (NWU-Mafikeng)
The defender was consistent at the back for his team and featured in every game. He was strong in the tackle and in the aerial battles as well.
CB: Bongani Matsemela (CUT)
Matsemela’s never-say-die attitude and communication at the back are his best attributes. He led by example and was usually calm at the back.
CB: Sipho Sibiya (TUT)
The strong defender formed a solid partnership with captain Elliot Seema. Sibiya, who won the man of the match award against UJ, scored against UFH and also got a vital winner against Wits during the round robin phase.
LB: Wendelle Martin (NWU-Mafikeng)
The afro and big frame make it hard for anyone to miss him on the pitch. Martin was solid at left back, strong in the tackle and enjoyed getting forward when an opportunity presented itself.
RM: Samuel Warder (UJ)
Warder kept defenders busy with his skills and speed on the wing. He scored and won the man of the match in a 4-2 victory over UFH. He also scored against Wits and NWU-Mafikeng.
CM: Thiago da Serra (Tuks)
Da Serra is a true box-to-box midfielder, making valuable contributions in defence and attack. He chipped in with some goals in the group stages and proved to be a set piece specialist.
CM: Josh Silent (UWC)
UWC failed to defend their title, but the performances of left footed attacking midfielder Josh Silent were one of the few positives. He scored five goals in the group stage, including the winner in UWC’s first victory in the competition – against UJ.
LM: Katlego Ntsabeleng (UJ)
He’s arguably been UJ’s best player in the competition, with three goals and as many assists which he got during the group phase. The skilful winger, who can play on both flanks, has also won two man of the match awards.
ST: Orapeleng Manopole (CUT)
The man nicknamed “Pajero” never stops running and is always looking to get himself into good scoring positions. He scored vital goals for his team and has deservedly been nominated for the player of the tournament award.
ST: Jacob Hlalele (TUT)
A goal poacher of note, Hlalele has proven to be a match winner on quite a few occasions. His six goals in the competition include winning goals against Tshwane rivals Tuks and NWU-Mafikeng. He’s also a nominee for player of the tournament.
By Tshepang Mailwane, Sowetan and Sunday World football writer