UFS are confident and upbeat heading into their 2023 Varsity Football campaign. This year the Blues have a clear objective, and that is to win the tournament for the first time after coming so close the past two years, only to fall short in the semi-finals.
In addition, the well-established outfit are excited at the prospect of playing in a Bloemfontein derby for the first time with the inclusion of CUT.
The focus for the Blues this year is certainly on it being a team effort and they want to win the tournament as a collective, as opposed to banking on one of two star players. That said, captain Aphiwe Zulu will most definitely be the player to keep an eye on this season.
UFS coach Tebogo Motsamai feels that leading into the tournament there is a positive vibe in the camp and their goal is to ensure the title comes to the Free State.
“We have a few players in the squad that were around last year.
“That attitude and the mood in the camp is very good. The guys have been training well and, in the friendlies we have played so far, they have managed to come out on top and they are trying their level best.
“With the Varsity Football this year, we want to win it. We want the title in Bloemfontein.”
Regarding the derby fixture in round 7, Motsamai says it is something that they and the fans are excited about and the match itself will be for the people of the city who are starved of top-flight football.
“The CUT derby I think will be for the people of Bloemfontein and the Free State. There are no Premier Soccer League teams here and I think the football fans cannot wait to see us in action.
“The students and supporters are all happy about the derby, but they are also just excited for our first game.”
UFS 24-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Thembekile Mhlathi, Tisetso Seodinyane, Makhanya Lethokuhle.
Defenders: Aphiwe Zulu, Thato Skhosana, Itumeleng Louw, Bongani Ndimande, Lizwi Kunene, James Mhlanga, Thandolwethu Khoza, Obakeng Seekoei, Iviwe Dyabuza.
Midfielders: Jerome Jansen, Ethan Goldstone, Sabelo Mthembu, Reatlehile Meya, Tyson-Wright Phiri, Eon Pieterse, Arlonso Diedricks.
Forwards: Thato Nkhatho, Omphemetse Athibeng, Boy Rantsoti, Jermein Marou, Sambulo Sithole.
UFS kick off their campaign against defending champions TUT on Thursday 27 July at Shimla Park (18:30).