It All Comes Down To This
Varsity Football: It All Comes Down To This
After seven league phase matches and two daunting semifinals, we have reached the climax of the 2016 Varsity Football competition.
The equation is simple, win and be crowned champions. Lose and become the first team to fall short in two Finals.
The visitors, the University of Johannesburg, contended the 2014 Final against UP-Tuks in Johannesburg but fell short by a solitary goal. So be sure that they will be determined not to suffer a second defeat at the hands of a Pretoria opponent again.
The hosts, Tshwane University of Technology have managed to replicate their 2015 exploits by reaching the Final once again. This time, though, travelling is not a factor - having had to travel down to Cape Town in 2015.
Back-to-back defeats is also a non-negotiable for the home side and, with their boisterous and partisan crowd behind them every step of the way, you would be forgiven for thinking they would dominate the possession stats.
Speaking about the crowd, UJ will need to make a point of it to keep them silent for long periods - much like NWU-Mafikeng were able to do in the semifinal at the same venue. Should the Johannesburg students be able to do that, they may just have the recipe to defeat TUT.
In the league phase, UJ were the first team to leave the field against TUT with some points after managing to claim a 1-1 draw in Round Four at the TUT Stadium.
However, those dropped points did very little to stem TUT's winning momentum as they emerged unbeaten from the round-robin phase of the competition. UJ did things the hard way and managed to secure their playoff spot with a victory in their final league match.
Prediction: UJ has played in Pretoria before and knows what needs to be done to overcome the unbeaten TUT. The home side, however, has to make amends for their defeat in the 2015 Final and there is no better place to do this than in your own backyard. The early minutes may be a tactical battle with not much action, however, that should increase as the teams settle and figure each other out. With that in mind, it will be no surprise if TUT manages to claim the title after a tense penalty shootout as it can be expected that the game will end in a draw.