Posted on April 01, 2016
During the past week, the University of Pretoria men's soccer team successfully defended their national title at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein to become the 2015 USSA National Football Club Champions. The team also won the title in 2014, when the tournament was hosted by the Durban University of Technology. This tournament, which is usually held annually during the first week of December, was postponed in 2015 due to student protests on most campuses.
Tuks opened the tournament with a 3-0 win against Walter Sisulu University on the Mthata Campus. They drew their second match against the Central University of Technology 1-1, after which they beat the University of Cape Town 1-0 in the third and final group match.
They went on to beat their neighbours and arch-rivals, TUT Pretoria, on penalties in the quarter-final, and the University of Fort Hare 2-0 in the semi-final. In the final they once again faced the team from the Central University of Technology and won the match 2-1 to reclaim their title.
‘We had assembled a strong team for this tournament and I thought we had a good mix of experienced and new players who are exciting to watch. We succeeded in choosing a team with a positive attitude and a desire to win, which certainly lifted the team spirit. Coming to this tournament is never easy as we are the team everyone wants to beat – first of all because we are Tuks, but this year also because we were the defending champions. We are always up for the challenge and we came here believing that we could beat any team we had to face,’ said Jan ‘Mabuza’ Motaung, who had replaced Evangelos Vellios as the head coach and was coaching his very first tournament.
At the gala dinner held on the final day, central midfielder Khumbulani ‘Cheese’ Siluma received the Player of the Tournament award. The Team Manager of the Tournament award went to John Matlala, and Dylan Paterson received the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award.
In 2016 a change will be introduced in the format of the tournament, which will in future have two divisions, ie Divisions A and B. Division A will comprise of the top twenty university teams in the country. As from 2017, promotion and relegation will take place between the divisions. Tuks men’s and women’s teams will be competing in Division A, which will be hosted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth from 5 to 9 December 2016.
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