Young debutant Lusanda Mavundla captured the affection of numerous football enthusiasts and analysts with her impressive goal-scoring abilities and adept performances on the field during the Women’s 2023 FNB Varsity Football tournament in Tshwane. The first-year Road and Transport Management student at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) was the biggest winner, amassing a sum of R15,000 cash prizes at the end of the tournament.
Mavundla was voted the FNB Overall Player of the Tournament (winning a R10,000 cash prize) and won the Suzuki Golden Boot (R3,500 cash prize as the tournament’s top goal scorer – 5 goals) as well as selected as Player of the Match (R1,500 cash prize in the match against Wits University).
Speaking after UJ’s loss in the final, Mavundla said that she had mixed emotions about the way the team finished. “I’m happy that I was voted the Player of the Tournament and finished as the Top Goal Scorer, that is what I wanted to achieve going into the tournament. However, I am also disappointed that we could not win the trophy as a team because we wanted to be remembered as champions this year,” she said.
UJ goalkeeper, Matshidiso Masebe, also won the Cashbuild Golden Glove cash prize of R3,500 together with the University of the Western Cape goalkeeper, who were crowned champions of the tournament at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Stadium.
Masebe said, “I am delighted with the win of the Golden Glove award. This award gives me the motivation to work even harder in upcoming matches so that I can help my team succeed. I have learned from my mistakes, and I will be rectifying them on the pitch with goalkeeper coach Mr Lucky Shiburi.
Out of the five matches played, UJ players Kabelo Mokwena, Ayesha Moosa, Boipelo Tladinyana and Mavundla were each selected as Player of the Match in the group stage and the semifinal.
The UJ Senior Women’s Football Team could not defend their 2022 title as they finished in second place in the tournament, losing 2-0 to last year’s runners-up, UWC. In 2022, UJ defeated UWC 5-4 on penalties to be crowned champions at the UJ Soweto Stadium. The Orange Army replicated their winning streak in this year’s women’s Varsity Football campaign but lost the final. This year, UWC scored their two goals in the opening minutes of the first and the second halves.
“I’m proud of what the team managed to do in the tournament this year. This is fairly a young squad that we have rebuilt due to our senior players being illegible to play in the Varsity Football tournament after they had graduated with their academic qualifications. I’m happy for the youngsters who made their first appearances in the tournament, Lusanda being one of them and winning the Overall Player of the Tournament tells you that we’ve done quite well with the team. We go back to our league football, and we will make a strong felt return in the 2024 Varsity Football tournament for sure,” said Nthabeleng “Dunga” Modiko, Head Coach: UJ Senior Women’s Football Team.
The UJ ladies team had opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over UWC, but lost to the same team in the final of the tournament. The UJ team played this year’s Varsity Football competition without the Shamase twins, Sphumelele and Thubelihle.