24 July 2019 – Pretoria is braced for what is known to be the biggest clash on the Varsity Football calendar, when Tuks hosts current champions TUT on 25 July at the Tuks Stadium.
TUT currently hold the bragging rights after defeating Tuks 2-1 in the Stripe Generation’s backyard last season. TUT’s Lebogang Phatlane was electric on the day, scoring both of TUT’s goals, while Nhlanhla Mabaso scored UP-Tuks’s only goal after headering in a cross kick.
The Pretoria Derby remains a fiery clash considering the winning records of both of these sides. When asked, Tuks captain Simbongile Njokwe was certain about this being the biggest derby in Varsity Football.
“You can correct me on this one; I think it is the biggest match in the whole tournament. Hence, why we always play against them (TUT) in our first game. As a result of that, the rivalry is big.”
TUT skipper Rorisang Rapelang believes that this clash is more about the bragging rights than anything else.
“The rivalry ends on the field honestly because off it we are friends and I guess the on-field rivalry is fueled by the fact we are mostly friends off the field. We don’t want to lose to them because we will never hear the end of it when we meet in our various social circles.”
The TUT captain doesn’t believe there is any pressure that comes with being the current champions going into the new season.
“We are under no pressure at all as we will be playing away from home, our objectives alleviates the pressure that comes with being the supposed ‘defending champions’ , we are the underdogs we will just go out to do our best.
“The guys are raring to go we feel confident we will put up a good defence even though we are fully aware of the fact that we are no longer champions as soon as the ref blows the whistle on the first game,” explained Rapelang.
Njokwe commiserated poor execution for his team’s poor showing last season but says they will use their opportunities better in 2019.
“We were unfortunate last season. The technical team gave us all the tools and, on the day, we couldn’t convert chances. This season we want to try and be clinical in front of goals.
“The preparations are going smooth, and the team cannot wait for the tournament.”