Varsity Football Is Back With A Bang
Varsity Football Is Back
With the Premier Soccer League teams still going through their paces in pre-season training, local fans can feed their hunger for top-quality and action-packed football when Varsity Football gets underway this Thursday.
Varsity Football has certainly grown into an exceptional product over the years, giving rise to stars such as SuperSport United and Bafana Bafana attacker, Thabo Mnyamane, who played for the North West University (NWU) in the 2013 tournament.
Crowds have certainly been royally entertained and spectators have voted with their feet with many Varsity Football teams attracting greater turnouts than their PSL counterparts. NWU-Mafikeng is certainly the envy of most PSL teams with the North West side attracting close to 10 000 fans each week at the Mafikeng Sports Field.
They will have to wait for their fill this week though, with NWU on the road in their first match against the University of Fort Hare at the Davidson Stadium in Alice. The visitors will be looking to get their 2017 campaign off to a positive start after falling to reigning champions Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in last year’s semi-finals.
Undoubtedly the clash of the opening round is, however, the local Tshwane derby between champions TUT and UP-Tuks Football. This is a mouth-watering match-up with TUT eager to show their maiden title last year season when they beat the University of Johannesburg (UJ) 2-1 in the final, was no fluke.
They will also once again be spurred on by a passionate home crowd, who are now expecting the same type of football feast that was delivered last season. How the home team cope with the added pressure will be crucial to the outcome.
UP-Tuks, meanwhile, be smarting after losing out to their neighbours last season. They still regard themselves as the dominant team in the Tshwane region, having lifted the Varsity Football trophy back-to-back in the first two seasons back in 2013 and 2014.
The University of Western Cape (UWC) were the first side to break UP Tuks’ championship-winning run when they were crowned Varsity Football champions’ in 2015 on a raucous night at the Bellville Stadium and will also be looking to recapture some of that glory after a disappointing title defence last season when “The Bushies” finished sixth and failed to even qualify for the semi-finals.
They open up their Varsity Football campaign against fellow 2016 strugglers Wits Football in Bellville.
Last, but definitely not least, in the opening round of fixtures sees runners-up UJ up against a strong Central University of Technology (CUT) side. There will be an extra bite to this match-up with CUT looking to avenge their heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to UJ in last season’s semi-final.