17 August 2018 – Inspirational success stories, tough challenges and everything else in between. This sums up the recent footballing story of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Competing on multiple fronts including SAFA’s exciting Sasol League, Varsity Cups and USSA (University Sports South Africa) tournaments, the university team has endured mixed fortunes over the past few months.
SAFA.net caught up with UKZN football coordinator Khulekani Mabuza who provided some interesting insights on the each of the above-mentioned competitions and more.
Chatting about the on-going Sasol League season, in which the team occupy seventh position with 26 points from 15 games, Mabuza explained the university’s overall priorities.
“To be honest it has been a tough Sasol season and due to the poor results that we experienced, management decided to prioritize the USSA tournament which doubled as a qualification process for Varsity Football. This proved to be a good strategy as we finished in fifth spot and hence did qualify to compete,” said Mabuza.
He did however add that they are not giving up hope in the Sasol League: “We are still going to push for a top four spot and build towards next season in which we will go all out for the title,” added Mabuza.
The men’s Varsity Football team (pictured) have also struggled to an extent recently but Mabuza is confident of a turn-around.
“It’s our maiden season and this event is new to us. We also had very little preparation time and were exhausted after the men’s USSA success. We had to adjust quickly compared to other teams such as UJ for example, who are very experienced in this competition. But we will bounce back, be positive, believe in ourselves and give it a go,” enthused Mabuza.
On a happier note, the coordinator provided his thoughts on the successful USSA tournament in which the UKZN men’s team were the eventual winners.
“It was the institution’s first football trophy since the university merger in 2004. The previous year we ended fourth and built on that. We utilized our experience to the maximum advantage and it worked. We were very proud of captain Nqubeko Dlamini and the boys,” concluded Mabuza.
From the USSA success to the challenges experienced in Varsity Football and the mixed fortunes in the Sasol League, this university team has been through it all and continues to strive to improve in spite of all the odds. Such commendable character traits are sure to take the team to where it wants to be and help all teams achieve both short-term and long-term goals.
The UKZN Sasol League team are at home to Nxamalala Ladies at Westville Campus this coming Monday (20 August) at 15:00 while the Varsity Football team next take on UWC at Howard College Rugby Stadium on 23 August at 18:15.