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University of Fort Hare on the verge of history in the Sasol League National Champs

University of Fort Hare team picture during the SASOL League National Championships at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium

University of Fort Hare team picture during the SASOL League National Championships at Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Oct 18, 2023


The University of Fort Hare (UFH) are on course to make history in the Sasol League National Championships play-offs after reaching the semi-final on Wednesday.

UFH are one of the teams that are making their debut in the finals of the competition, but they do not seem overwhelmed, having won their two matches in Group B.

The Eastern Cape based side beat Royal Wizards 4-2 on Tuesday, sending a stern message to their rest of their counterparts here in Bloemfontein.

KwaZulu Natal’s representatives Lindelani Ladies also fell to the sword of the varsity side on Wednesday morning, courtesy of Nizole Ngece’s lone goal.

It was a momentous win for UFH which has them believing that they could achieve the improbable and win the semi-final and get promoted to the Super League next season.

But that’s still not the promised land. A win for UFH in the final on Sunday would secure them the title, country’s bragging rights and a cool cheque of R200 000.

The team’s coach Asanda Mnakaniso was humble in victory, saying they’ll use the day off on Thursday to recover and plan for their semi-finalist opponent on Friday.

“It’s a knockout game and that will bring pressure on us. But we’ll see what to do. We’ll sit down, talk, and see where our mistakes were,” he explained.

“In our first game, we conceded. So, we need to see where the mistake was. But the team improved today (on Tuesday) and we are now used to the pitch.”

UFH are not only the team that have put their best foot forward in the finals. 2021 semi-finalists Croesus Ladies also reached the same stage of the competition after missing out last year.

The Gauteng-based side thumped Sasol Juventus 5-1 in their opener before holding on for a 3-2 win over Royal Queens in the second match on Wednesday.

Croesus’ goals all came in the first half, with Lerato Ruele and Portia Dube scoring a brace and lone goal respectively. Pholoso Molokwe and Dorcas Khumalo scored Queens’ double.

And having crashed out at this stage of the competition two years ago, coach Kanyisa Qina, who’s returning with the team, is hoping they’ll avoid the fate of 2020 in Durban.

“I am not coming here for the first time. This win was very crucial and it’s taking us to the semi-final. But last time that’s where the problem started for us,” Qina said.

“But we are hoping to fix a lot of things and be ready for the match. But tomorrow, we are resting. It was a hard one today since we were playing for the second day in a row.”

Meanwhile, Ramatlaohle joined the lists of the semi-finalists in the last match of day two as they set to finish either first in Group C or as the overall second-best team.

The Limpopo-based side are first in their group with four points. They beat the University of Cape Town 3-1 in the opener, before drawing 1-1 with the hosts Ixias on Wednesday.

Valeria Packry scored Ramatlaohle’s goal, but that couldn’t grant them the win as Relehobile Nthonga levelled matters for Ixias as the match finished 1-all.

With Ixias three points behind Ramatlaohle in Group C, a win over UCT would grant them passage to the semi-final. But that won’t be easy as the Capetonians still have a shot at glory.

IOL Sport

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