Following their remarkable qualification for the 2017 leg of the University Sport South Africa (USSA) Varsity Cup, the biggest football tournament for universities, the University of Zululand’s (UNIZULU) Ladies Swallows football team is promising to deliver and strive at this year’s contest.
USSA is the controlling body of all sporting codes played at tertiary level in South Africa. Once again, the body will hold its much-loved and exciting Varsity Cup tournament, this year at the Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth. The highly-anticipated event will kick-off on Monday (2 July) and end on Friday (6 July), seeing 20 universities competing for the coveted title.
After a morale-boosting 16-0 thrashing victory over Rhodes University which guaranteed the ladies a spot in the quarterfinals, Head Coach Sandile ‘Mzambiya’ Dube has expressed that even though they are going to the tournament as “underdogs”, the players are motivated and geared up for the challenge.
“Last year we said we are going to (the) USSAs to compete and not to add numbers. We (also) said our target was to reach the quarterfinals (and we did that). This year, we still have the same target of keeping the status of playing in the Varsity Cup and then from there we can go and challenge for a semi-final. We are going to the competition to compete, leave a mark and let them know that we are a good side,” said Dube who added that they are honoured to be among the top 20 universities that will be participating.
“This is a big achievement for the girls because first of all, opportunities where girls are given freedom to play football in South Africa are scarce. So, for the fact that the UNIZULU’s Sports Department gave us a chance to have a girls’ soccer team, it’s a good thing. I’m very happy for the players because now they are going national and getting the experience too. From here, we are promising the UNIZULU community that we will work hard at the USSAs and make everyone proud,” Dube said.
Asked whether the team is well-prepared for the tournament, Vice-Captain Phindile ‘Giraffe’ Shangase confidently said: “We were born ready. With the assistance (of) our coaches (technical team), we are flames. Come the USSAs, we will be showing them flames.”
In conclusion, the Coach boasted that the team’s captain Mbaliyethu Mhlongo is currently in Botswana following her selection- at the 2017 USSAs- to be part of the squad that is representing the national team.
The University of Zululand Ladies Swallows football team will be participating at the 2018 USSA Varsity Cup in Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth.