By Buyeleni Sibanyoni (2 mins read)
The UJ men’s football team is currently at number six on the log standings with only seven points after six rounds, making prospects of a semi-final spot hang loose as it all comes down to the last and 7th fixture.
The Orange Army started its campaign on an exceptional note winning two games. The first win was against Central University of Technology in the first round with a score of 1-0 and another stunning victory against the University of Pretoria (UP Tuks) in the third round with a brilliant score of 4-0.
Things became a bit shaky when the boys drew 2-2 against the University of Western Cape in round four and landed on a losing streak, which saw them succumb three games against the Tshwane University of Technology, North-West University and University of the Free State Kovskies.
“On the field, they seem to not be communicating and linking correctly [yet] they have a formidable team. I think they could be doing better based on the players they have,” said Nhlakanipho Phakathi, a sports management student.
6 Things to know about UJ’s Varsity Football history
- When Varsity Football was founded in 2013, the Orange Army did not qualify to play.
- The Orange Army was the runner up of the Men’s Varsity Football in 2014.
- In 2015, the Orange Army did not play in the semi-finals.
- In 2016, the Orange Army played in the semi-finals and in this season, they were in danger of not making it to the semi-finals. However, they managed to win their last two games placing them in the semi-finals.
- The Orange Army did not play in the semi-finals in the 2017 season.
- In 2018, the Orange Army made it to the semi-finals, however, lost.
In round seven, the Army plays against the University of KwaZulu Natal (UKZN) at UJ Stadium.
“The Orange Army has to win, not draw or loss,” said Andries Ndlovu, a football enthusiast and former TOJ sports journalist. “If they win, they would have to pray for the top teams in the log to lose. To be honest, them progressing to the next round is not only on them but on other teams’ performances.”
He compared the situation of the Army with the one Bafana Bafana was facing during the 2019 Afcon competition; on its own performance, it was out of the competition but based on other teams’ performances, Bafana Bafana was able to reach the top 16 games.
When asked what can the boys do to win their upcoming game, Ndlovu said: “The Orange Army needs to go all out and attack in numbers because that is the only way to win; we need more numbers in the opponent’s box.”
UKZN is currently at the bottom of the log table with only two points after six rounds with no win, but that does not mean it will be a straight win for the Orange Army as much as the odds are against UKZN.
Much anticipation awaits the 7th fixture as this might seal UJ’s fate in the tournament. History haunts the boys and this fixture’s outcome may determine a repeat of the 2016 season.
Reporting writing by Buyeleni Sibanyoni; Editing by Kupakwashe Kambasha, Magnificent Mndebele and Gaby Ndongo.
Feature image: An image of soccer boots in the air. Photo obtained from Pixel.