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Pukke’s underdogs hungry for Varsity Football wins

Every dog has its day but, sometimes, that day only happens after three years of blood, sweat and tears. The wait is now finally over for NWU Pukke’s men’s football team, which will now represent the university as the premier football side at the 2015 Varsity Football Cup this year. The former footballing underdogs of …

Every dog has its day but, sometimes, that day only happens after three years of blood, sweat and tears.

The wait is now finally over for NWU Pukke’s men’s football team, which will now represent the university as the premier football side at the 2015 Varsity Football Cup this year.

Captain, Bonginkosi Mnyamane addresses the crowd in attendance at the NWU Pukke amphitheater on Thursday, 16 July 2015.
Captain, Bonginkosi Mnyamane addresses the crowd in attendance at the NWU Pukke amphitheater.

The former footballing underdogs of the North-West University defeated their more illustrious counterparts from the Mafikeng campus 1-0 on aggregate during the playoffs last year. Kagiso Pitso scored the winner on that day, even though Pukke only played with ten men for the larger part of the match.

“The players were extremely determined. Normally, we would go down 4-0 or 5-0 to Mafikeng when playing on their home turf but, this time, we managed a 0-0 draw. That was a big psychological advantage,” said head coach, Michael Seleka.

NWU Puk grabbed that advantage with both hands and wrote their names in the history books as the first football team from Potchefstroom Campus to play in the big leagues.

NWU Pukke in a relaxed mode ahead of the tournament.
NWU Pukke in a relaxed mode ahead of the tournament.

“It was an absolutely wonderful feeling on that day. It was a highlight, and confirmation that all our hard work had finally paid off. Now we have to continue in this vein during the Varsity Cup,” he added.  The Varsity Cup is another kettle of fish, compared to the level of competition that the Puk boys are used to.

Eight of the top university teams will compete for cup glory in the biggest tournament of the year. Seleka is not overawed by the occasion, though and believes his players will be on top of their game when they visit Walter Sisulu University (WSU) on Monday, 20 July. The team will play their first home match against WITS at the NWU Pukke Soccer field on 3 August 2015, after the opening two away matches.

“This is a new year, a new tournament and we will start on a clean sheet with the aim of getting numerous victories and good performances to be proud of. It is going to be a fantastic learning curve for the young students,” he said.  The coach also has a strong midfield approach, as the core of his attacking and defensive strategy, and likes using the 3-5-2 formation to give stability and access to the wingers to do their damage on the outside.

“Each team will have a different footballing strategy and the best you can do is adapt to the match situation. We have strategised a lot and believe we know what we are in for. My players must keep focus and harness good decision making,” emphasised Seleka.

The semi-finals will be played on 10 September, with the final on 24 September 2015, to crown the Varsity Sports Football champion.

NWU Pukke squad:

Thembisile Chona (Goalkeeper), Sylvester Maribe, Falakhe Ponoshe, March Skosana, Bonginkosi Mnyamane, Dumisani Nhlapo, Kagiso Pitso, Gontse Pitso, Resjuan Maepi, Thabang Matlhoko, Patrcik Lebitsa, Katlego Sephakwe, Mosa Matshego, S’mangaliso Radebe, Siyabonga Xaba, Johannes le Grange (Goalkeeper), Evan Stegen, Hlalefo Senoamali, Letlhogonolo Sephakwe, Tebogo Montebodi, Thabo Mokhele, Johannes Mogorosi, Kutloano Nkwe, Tumelo Mosimane, Mojalefa Magabe, Tshepo Cebekhulu.

Head coach: Michael Seleka

Asistant coach: Moemeli Moeketsi

Team manager: Belinda Nkosi

Physiopherapist: Tokyo Raophala

Fixtures: (Home matches in bold)

20 July 2015: WSU vs NWU Pukke – 18:00

30 July 2015: VUT vs NWU – 18:30 (TV)

3 August 2015 NWU Pukke vs Wits – 18:00

13 August 2015: NWU Pukke vs NMMU – 18:30 (TV)

17 August 2015: NWU Pukke vs UWC – 18:00

24 August 2015: TUKS vs NWU Pukke – 18:00

3 September 2015: NWU Pukke vs TUT – 18:30 (TV)

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