TuksFootball crowned 2017 Varsity Football Champions

EMMANUEL OLUSEGUN
TuksFootball brought the 2017 Varsity Football season to a thrilling conclusion with a well-deserved 2-0 victory over TUT Football in the tournament final on 28 September.
Both sides entered into the encounter with impressive records. UP-Tuks had overcome a sluggish start to their campaign to record five consecutive wins on their road to the final, including a thrilling comeback victory over UWC, while defending champions TUT had maintained their previous seasons’ title-winning form with a campaign that saw them stretch their unbeaten run in the tournament to 17 games.

The match also pitted the tournament’s two most prolific strikers in TUT’s Themba Ndlovu (7 goals) and UP-Tuks’ Odwa Makha (6 goals) against one another. With both teams looking to stake claim to yet another Varsity Football title, proceedings got underway at TUT stadium in what was ideal weather for football.
The first few minutes of the opening half saw both sides jostle for possession, with TUT seemingly retaining just a fraction more of the ball than their cross-town rivals. With just ten minutes having been played,  TUT  got the game’s first real chance as their top scorer Ndlovu’s shot went just wide of the Tuks goal.
Tuks’ control over the game increased as the half continued. The away sides’ pressure on the TUT defence finally told in the 23rd  minute as a corner kick from Ntswana was headed in by Simbongile Njokwe to score TuksFootball’s first goal.
The remainder of the first half saw UP-Tuks dominate on all areas of the field as TUT struggled to cope with their opposition’s movement and passing. The half could easily have ended with Tuks more than one goal up as Mpedi and Nkwana both missed close chances, with Mpedi heading wide of the target and Nkwana’s free kick just off the mark as well. The first half ended with Tuks’ dominance evident in the relative silence throughout the home support’s stands.
The second half saw TUT attempt to level the score as they fought aggressively for possession from the outset. However Tuks’ defenders were up for the challenge and restricted the TUT attackers, with the frantic start made by the home side eventually giving way to more even possession between the two teams as the half continued.
In an excellent set piece move, Nkwana’s corner kick found captain Ntswane at the near post who flicked the ball on for the oncoming striker Makha who duly slotted the ball into the TUT net to double Tuks’ advantage in the   78th minute. TuksFootballs’ 2-0 lead to TUT Football led to visible frustration amongst the TUT faithful which resulted in disruption in the stands behind the TUT goal just 10 minutes before the final whistle. The game’s officials called proceedings to a halt as conditions were deemed unsafe for the players, with the match ultimately being called off as the crowd troubled spiraled out of control. Read the full story here. Despite the unsavoury end to the game, it was Tuks who ran out two-nil winners and in the process claim their third title in five years.

 

Photo: Stefan Stander

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