#TuksFootball: Tuks got a point to prove against Kovsies in their opening match of the 2022 Varsity Football edition

Posted on July 21, 2022

Revenge is a strong word, but it can be argued that it will be in the back of the minds of Tuks players when they face Kovsies in their first encounter (away) of the 2022 Varsity Football edition on Thursday, 21 July.

There is a reason for it. Last year, Kovsies got the better of Tuks twice. The worst for Tuks was losing 2-1 in the semifinal. 

According to the Tuks head coach, Nicholas Stothard, there is a wrong he and his team got to make right. 

"The one thing I have learned is to take nothing for granted in Varsity Football. There is never such a thing as an easy game. Still, I am confident that Tuks will give a good account of themselves. Our training has been going well, and the guys are motivated.

"It helps that the core of last year's team is still playing. Our partnership deal with Mamelodi Sundowns means we have a few exciting players on loan. They are all Tuks students. One of them is the highly-rated Ofentse Mashiane."

Stothard is a firm believer in the principle that a team who does not concede goals can't lose. But one of the biggest frustrations over the last four years was how the Tuks players tend to fluff scoring opportunities, often at vital times.

"Ultimately, I like to keep it tight at the back. Be defensively disciplined, but I have changed our game plan slightly. When we have the ball, I want the players to make the most of every opportunity. So hopefully, we are going to score more from free-flowing play.

"It seems as if the players are starting to master doing so. In the buildup to the Varsity Tournament, we played eight games and scored roundabout 25 goals."

Stothard believes the lack of a striker that wins matches is not unique to Tuks. 

"As far as I am concerned, it is a South African football problem. We are not coaching strikers to become matchwinners. The last time we had outstanding strikers was in the nineties."

Nhlanhla Mabaso, who made his Varsity Football debut in 2018, will be captaining Tuks. He is a striker and makes no secret that he has a passion for scoring goals. To him, fluffing scoring opportunity boils down to failing his teammates down. 

UP-Tuks Varsity Football 2022 squad:   

GOALKEEPERS: 1. Holomo Mopeli, 12. Vusumuzi Manganyi 

DEFENDERS: 2. Edward Rankwe, 3. Katlego Machaka, 4. Atlegang Masemola, 5. Elijah Visser, 13. Makola Mohlala, 14. Karabelo Ramokepa, 15. Goitse Phasha, 16. Nelson Balepile, 17. Paballo Mamabolo 

MIDFIELDERS: 6. Euan Jenneker, 7. Tshiamo Mokoena, 11. Raymond Matlamela, 18. Ofentse Mashiane, 19. Njabulo Mdebuka, 20. Fortune Chego (VICE-CAPTAIN)

FORWARDS: 8. Matome Rangata, 9. Nhlanhla Mabaso (CAPTAIN), 10. Nkosana Shabalala, 21. Sylvester Sibanyoni, 22. Ntokozo Madela, 23. Marco Giuricich.   

UFS Kovsies vs UP-Tuks will be broadcast LIVE on SupersSport PSL at 17:00.

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

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