Tuks are Varsity Football champs

Fans who showed up for epic finale of the Varsity Football Challenge at Pretoria. Fans from both NMMU and UP-Tuks were in abundance on the stands. Photo: Provided.

Fans who showed up for epic finale of the Varsity Football Challenge at Pretoria. Fans from both NMMU and UP-Tuks were in abundance on the stands. Photo: Provided.

After 31 matches, 87 goals and 23 wins, Tuks came out on top with a 4-1 win in the final game against the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University last night.

It was an explosive finale to the inaugural Varsity Football challenge. Out of the eight teams who participated in the 2013 Varsity Football challenge the two remaining teams, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) went head-to-head with Tuks from the University of Pretoria in the final.

NMMU, otherwise known as the Madibaz, had a solid defence in the first half of the game. They put their bodies on the line in an attempt at good defense against the home team.

With an atmospheric kick-off for the home team, Tuks plunged their way into dominating ball possession in the first 20 minutes of the game. The Madibaz probed on the edges, and by the 15 minute of the game all the jittery nerves had become a thing of the past.

Tuks tried hard to turn all their defences into attacks and in the 20th minute, defender Lawrence Ntswane opened up the scoring lines by executing a perfect header straight into the goal post. Madibaz goalie Lyndsay Jennings had no chance at stopping the ball just creeping in.

The Madibaz saw their best moment of attack in the first half when centrefold Lukhanyo Rasmeni from Port Elizabeth chanced a direct shot at goal, however with a disappointing result.

To end the first half off perfectly, 22 year-old defender Claudio Barreiro scored the second goal for Tuks in the 44th minute of the game.

Evangelos Vellios, coach for Tuks said: “It’s very pleasing and a wonderful thing that has happened for SA rugby and it’s a nice step from school level to professional level.”

The second half saw the Madibaz return with fighting spirits with quick and nippy kicks and clear strategy for goal attack.

Although Madibaz came back with fighting spirits they were unable to prevent Tuks from scoring their third goal in the 72nd minute of the game. Mbogeni Masilela pushed Tuks to a well deserved three goals. Masilela has scored a total of three goals himself in this tournament.

NMMU decided to make their first change of the game. Alexander Owusu was sent to the bench with number 25 Bradley Peterson replacing him.

Peterson, watching out for the counter attack along with Leroy van Rensburg, a player who was underestimated, together with a joint effort managed to score the first the goal for NMMU in the 77th minute of the game.

Although the Madibaz came back fighting, Tuks brought the game home on their own turf when Masilela once again performed his magic, and with effortless pace and shot the fourth goal for Tuks perfectly into the post in last minute of the game.

The post-match ceremony saw trophies being handed to the champions by Dennis Mumble, Professor Julian Smith and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Player of the Tournament was “Scara” Mnyamane from NWU Mafikeng and man of the match was Jarryd van der Berg who said: “ We pulled something out of the hat and we definitely saved the best for last.”

Tristyn Coetsee, goalkeeper for Tuks won the Debonairs Dynamite Goalkeeper prize and the Samsung Super Striker went to Niven Kops from NMMU who said: “We are going back to the drawing boards.”

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