With four wins, one draw and a single loss, the senior men’s football team of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) is on course to defend their 2021 FNB Varsity Football tournament this year. UJ won their second consecutive match (1-0) against FNB Vaal University of Technology (VUT) in match six of the tournament on Thursday evening, 25 August 2022 on home soil (UJ Soweto Stadium), booking a semi-final spot.
After six matches played, UJ shares 13-points with the University of Free State (UFS-Kovsies) at the top of the log.
Thanda Madiba’s brilliant direct free kick in the 25th minute of the match was enough to secure three points, thus qualifying for a semi-final spot alongside UFS Kovsies.
“It feels great to get a second win in a row, another win for our fans here at home. The UJ support has been enormous since the opening match in July. It is encouraging that they continue to support us until we play our last match. I believe in my guys and our University. We will achieve more – we have to continue working hard and smart to defend our 2021 title,” said Neo Lebopa the UJ team Captain.
Lebopa said that his side could have scored more goals in the first half as they had several chances to extend the lead. It was a high intensity game, with VUT also taking shots at UJ but failing to find the back of the net a few times. The VUT goalkeeper made crucial saves following Madiba’s goal to keep UJ at bay.
Lebopa and goalkeeper, Richard Lona, brought their A-game one the night to stop the goal-hungry VUT strikers from scoring goals. VUT became more deadly in the second half of the match. The open game from the two teams saw each side hitting the upright goalposts numerous times.
UJ’r right-winger, Ntokozo Mathobela played as a left winger on the night. He says he was grateful to the coaches and teammates for guiding him as he navigated the new position.
With midfielder anchor, Thulani Zandamela, off in the last minutes of the game, the UJ team seemed to have taken their foot off the pedal. They began to play defensive football in the second half of the match to protect their one-nil lead.
Player of the Match, Richard Lona, dedicated the award to his teammates. “This comes as a shock, I’d like to thank God for making it possible for me. It’s been a year of Him just showing himself in my life and he deserves all the glory so for this one I am delighted and grateful. All the glory also goes to my teammates for helping me in getting a clean sheet tonight,” said Lona.
Thanda Madiba (UJ)
Player of the match:
Richard Lona (UJ)