Varsity Football rookies, University of KwaZulu-Natal are ready to take the popular tertiary tournament by storm in their debut season.
The boys from KZN have already shown their football prowess this year by winning the USSA football championships in Nelson Mandela Bay and eagerly anticipating their chance to show their skills in front of a national audience, with the tournament kicking off this week.
UKZN will open their Varsity Football campaign at home at the July Howard College Rugby Stadium against Wits at 18:30.
“We have seen our football brand going from strength to strength, both locally and nationally,” said UKZN Head of Sport, Mark Bashe.
“We know the hard work that we have put in and it has paid off. Beating the other universities have definitely helped us prepare well for this tournament.
“We know we have what it takes to go all the way. It is our first year but we have proven that we can do well against other universities by winning the USSA football championships in Nelson Mandela Bay. We have been waiting for this moment for years. We have been planning for it.”
The confidence in the UKZN camp stems from the fact that they have a put a solid squad together that should be more than capable of holding its own in Varsity Football 2018.
“We have a very young squad. We have about three post-grad students so 25 out of the 28-man squad can come back again next year should they pass in December,” Bashe said.
“We have a number of promising players. Quite a young team but also quality players that have been with the side for a few years and have grown together. It is a well-balanced team that is why we are confident that we have what it takes to win this year's Varsity Football.”
This group of players will also be guided by the experienced James ' Styles' Mkhize.
“Mr Mkhize has been the coach at our Pietermaritzburg campus for the past six or seven years and we felt he would do the job for the Varsity Football. Our game is not to really focus on what the opposition does, it is more about delivering what we can do,” Bashe added.
“The coaches have focused a lot on developing players over the years and ensuring the team reached this stage and I am confident we can still improve. We had a coaching team of about nine people assisting us so it is not a one-man job,” he concluded.