University of Johannesburg’s women’s football team are determined to reclaim the Varsity Football title when they face Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria tomorrow.
Coached by Jabulile Baloyi, the Johannesburg team had a strong run through their group matches. They got off to a winning start in Potchefstroom, beating University of Pretoria 3-1 and North-West University 3-1 on Thursday and Friday respectively.
Baloyi, who took charge at the start of the year, said the opening match against Tuks had been their biggest hurdle as they had a less than stellar record against them, having already lost to them twice this season.
Their run in the fifth edition of the tournament hit somewhat of a speedbump when their match against the University of Western Cape ended in a goalless draw, but they qualified for last Saturday’s semifinals by virtue of their earlier performances.
There they faced University of Cape Town in what turned out to be a dominant performance, leaving the Western Cape side hanging their heads after Katlego Mabuza, Beauty Kekana and Precious Matabologa (two goals) contributed to their 4-0 defeat.
Mabuza’s performance in the semis earned her the player of the match and best shot awards and showed why she was chosen for the U20 national side.
Baloyi said the team’s progress since last year was evident and the girls had not looked back since scoring their first three-pointer on the opening day.
“We did well to win our first game and it worked as a sort of ice-breaker for us. After that we took each game as it came because our goal was to do better than last year.”
The 38-year-old from Phiri in Soweto, who celebrated her birthday the same day they faced UCT, said they would now aim to build on their performances ahead of the final.
“As a team we do create a lot of chances but we still need to make sure we keep our cool, don’t panic and convert more of the chances we create.”
Baloyi praised their current conversion rate but added forward movement against UCT would be crucial if they were to reclaim the title they last won in 2014.
She said their hard work and dedication had come to the fore and there was an obvious hunger to lift the trophy.
“We’ve had player of the match and shot of the match for many of the games we’ve played. We’ve really risen to the occasion and played as a team every time we’ve stepped onto the field,” said the proud coach.
“We’ll play our usual formation as it’s clearly been working for us. It will allow us to focus on playing our normal game and capitalising on our simple style of play.”
Thato Letsoso will lead her team onto the field for the final at TUT at 3.30pm tomorrow.
CAPTION: Thato Letsoso will lead the UJ women’s side in their quest to reclaim the Varsity Football title when they face TUT tomorrow. Photo: Asem Engage