Highveld Teams Rule The Roost
The final of this year's Varsity Football tournament might be in Cape Town, but it is the Highveld teams who are still a dominant force in Varsity Football.
UWC will be the first team outside of Gauteng to host a final after UP-Tuks and the University of Johannesburg hosted in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
UWC's achievement of finishing on top of the log this year should not be taken lightly given the performances of so called coastal teams in the competition. They were the only team from outside Gauteng to qualify for the semifinals this year - the other three semifinalists were Tuks, TUT and Wits.
One could argue that there are more universities from the Highveld competing in Varsity Football than those from near the coast, but it is still an interesting statistic
Going back to the inaugural competition in 2013 there was only one team that was not from the Highveld that made the semis and that was the NMMU Madibaz.
In 2014 all four semifinalists were from the Highveld - they were UJ, NWU Mafikeng, UP-Tuks and UFS Kovsies. The three coastal teams, NMMU, UWC and UCT finished fifth, sixth and eighth respectively.
While UWC finished as the top team this year it is interesting to note that the other two teams near the coast, NMMU and WSU to an extent, finished seventh and eighth respectively.
While many will not admit it, altitude does sometimes play a factor as teams from the coast, especially new and young players, often struggle with the thin air on their travels. This could be one of the advantages for Highveld teams.
However, this is just one small factor to consider and we cannot deny the fact that teams from Gauteng and nearby provinces have been the better footballing sides on the pitch.
It will be interesting to see if UWC will be the first team outside of Gauteng to lift the trophy when they face TUT in the final next Thursday.