Defending champions TUT collected their fourth title when they beat UJ in a dramatic penalty shootout (5-4) in the 2023 Varsity Football final at the UJ Soweto Stadium. The teams were locked at 1-1 after 90 minutes of regulation play.
The Orange Army started the game at a slow pace which worked in favour of TUT. The defending champions took the lead in the ninth-minute courtesy of Thuso Mlamla after a silly mistake from UJ defender Karabo Modisane.
The home team then slowly started to gain momentum, having much of the possession and creating chances. One of these was a header from Ntokozo Mathobela in the 42nd t that saw a reflex save from the TUT goalkeeper. The Red Army went into half-time with a 1-0 lead.
In the second half, with the support from an enthusiastic home crowd, UJ managed to get an equalizing goal. This was after great attacking play by Ntokozo Mathobela who delivered a cutback pass to Siphosihle Nkambule that put the ball in the back of the net.
Towards the end of the game, both sides were looking for their second goal to put the game to rest and lift the trophy. TUT’s Ronald Mabaso, the 2023 Golden Boot winner, missed from 10 yards out.
After the regulation 90 minutes, the scores were level at 1-1. In the ensuing penalty shootout, the Red Army held their nerve to outscore the Orange Army 5-4 and be crowned the 2023 Varsity Football champions for the second year running.
Scorers: TUT – Thuso Mlamla
UJ – Siphosihle Nkambule
Player of the Match: Hendrick Mncedisi Xaba
FNB Player of the Tournament: Ntokozo Mgidi
Suzuki Golden Boot: Ronald Mabaso
Cashbuild Golden Glove: Lona Richard Banga
TUT: Luyanda Mandindi, Ndumiso Kubheka, Tebogo Lekaba, Freddy Mahloana, Alan Moja, Anda Yamile, Hendrick Mncedisi Xaba, Lindokuhle Tumelo Motsamai, Thuso Mlamla, Tshiamo Mahome, Ronald Mabaso.
UJ: Lona Richard Banga, Ngwako Ramaloko, Maselesele Makoti, Thabo Moshikere, Thanda Madiba, Advocate Mokwena, Tumelo Molubi, Karabo Modisane, Ntokozo Mathobela, Malik Mashinini, Siphosihle Nkambule.