A team other than TUT will lift the Varsity Football women’s trophy this year for the first time since 2013 after the six-time winners failed to make the knockout stage.
UJ, who won the inaugural tournament eight years ago, UWC, Tuks and Wits qualified for Saturday’s semi-finals following two days of intense group games at the University of Pretoria.
Wits will meet UWC in the semi-final at the Tuks B-Field, with Tuks taking on UJ at the C-Field. Both matches will kick off at 11:30.
Ahead of their tournament debut, Wits coach Nthabiseng ‘Dunga’ Modiko said they would look to enjoy themselves and that progressing beyond the group stage would be a bonus. Her team went on to secure second place in Group A after a big win against DUT and draws with TUT and Tuks.
Having lost four of the last five Varsity Football women’s finals, UWC are desperate to lift the trophy this year. They won all three of their matches in Group B, against UJ, NWU and UL.
‘We are tired of losing in the final,’ says coach Thinasonke Mbuli. ‘This year we are going all the way. We are not in Pretoria for a holiday, we came here for the trophy.’
Coach Maud Khumalo’s Tuks will go into the other semi-final as favourites against coach Anna Monate’s UJ.
Tuks beat TUT 2-0 in their opening match before thrashing DUT and drawing with Wits.
‘We came here to break the cycle [of TUT title wins] and we plan to go all the way. There must be a new name on the trophy and we hope it will be ours,’ says Khumalo.
Monate (53) is the oldest coach in the tournament and left TUT because she wanted the challenge of helping UJ win their second title.
UJ went down 3-1 to UWC on Wednesday but bounced back with wins against DUT and NWU on Thursday.
‘We lost our first game because we could not stick to the basics, but we are ready to mount a strong challenge for the title against Tuks,’ says Monate.
2021 Varsity Women’s Football top goal-scorers:
Khanya Xesi (UWC) – 5
Kelebogile Putu (UJ) – 3
Tsogofatso Motlogelwa (TUT) – 3
Nomathemba Thwala (Wits) – 2
Sakhi Mnomiya (Wits) – 2
Molatelo Kobo (UWC) – 2
Nompumelelo Tshabalalala (TUT) – 2
Betty Mellela (Tuks) – 2
By Charles Baloyi