28 September 2018 – The long awaited Varsity Football final took place on Thursday evening, where Wits University hosted the Tshwane University of Technology at a packed Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg. The hosts were in their first ever final, having previously stumbled at the semi-final stages. TUT on the other hand, managed to secure the title in 2016 and lost out in the 2017 final at the hands of their Pretoria rivals UP-Tuks.
The match got underway after the great fireworks display prior to kick off, and it was the visitors that set the field alight first, looking very dominant with the Witsies often depending on counter attacking moves inside the first 20 minutes.
Just past the 22nd minute, the Witsies struck first, when captain Tshireletso Motsogi evaded a TUT defender to head past Sikhumbuzo Ncube and send the home support into a frenzy as they celebrated an early lead. With the score at 1-0, Wits continued to surge forward in search of a second, with the crowd spurring them on. Nothing came of it in the end, with TUT eventually finishing the half with a few opportunities of their own going wide, which meant Wits went into the break leading 1-0.
The second half was more of an open affair, with both sides slogging away at each other’s defences. Wits kept ahold of their clean sheet until just after the 15th minute mark, where TUT found themselves in space inside the Wits box. The Wits defenders failed to clear their lines and the ball fell at the feet of Godfrey Mahlala, who made no mistake slotting it past Wits shot stopper Matthew Carelse to level matters at 1-1.
The rest of the game produced plenty of action, with the ball moving in both directions at a rapid pace. The last 20 minutes saw TUT push Wits back in their half but the hosts stood strong until just before the 90-minute mark, when an unmarked Collen Vilakazi calmly headed his side into the lead with just three minutes additional time remaining. In the end, it was enough for TUT to bag their second Varsity Football title, coming out 2-1 winners.
FNB Player of the Tournament: Godfrey Mahlala (TUT)
FNB Player of the Match: Lerotholi Manala (Wits)
Samsung Moment of Brilliance: Collen Vilakazi (TUT)
Debonairs Real Deal Save: Matthew Carelse (Wits)
Goals: Tshireletso Motsogi
Goals: Godfrey Mahlala, Collen Vilakazi
Wits: Matthew Carelse, Tshireletso Motsogi (C), Ndzalama Bradley Mongwe, Mahlolo Clinton Mphahlele, Thapelo Letsoalo, Baliwe Moyakhe, Kal Laing, Lerotholi Manala, Saluleko Mathonsi, Mahle Mtabane, Sandile Mbatha
Substitutes: Daniel Meyer, Tshenolo Maimane, Bokang Tlali, Stokeley Speelman, Keamogestwe Mokalake, Phindiqiniso Zungu, Waylan Rooi
TUT: Sikhumbuzo Ncube (GK), Elliot Seema, Vusi Sibiya, Tumelo Mphela, Rorisang Rapelang, Brian Tshoba, Godfrey Mahlala, Ogorositswe Tabane, Leboganga Phatlane, Siyamthanda Topi, Moses Lehlomela
Substitutes: Mpho Nhlapo, Paul Mnisi, Ofentse Tlholoe, Boipelo Molale, Jerry Ngobeni, Mbofholowo Mbulawa, Collen Vilakazi