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Football (soccer) was one of the first sports practised at the Transvaal University College (TUC) as early as 1908. Records show that the Football team had 14 members in 1910. The team was captained by W.F. Candy who was also the Secretary of the Student Council that year. By 1911 however, the team “seems to have died out.”
Almost 42 years later, in 1953, the team was revived with Prof H.W.J. Wijnholds as the Honorary President. A few months after its formation, the team participated in the annual inter-university soccer tournament and reached third place. Two years later in 1956, UP won the Annual Inter-university tournament and received the Malcolm Taylor trophy. This was the first time an Afrikaans-speaking university managed to win this tournament. The club also participated in an annual intervarsity against Wits in addition to playing in local league competition. In 1958, the club performed well enough to gain promotion into the 1st League. By 1961 the club comprised of four teams as interest in football grew.
The club was promoted to the Northern Transvaal Reserve League in 1962. In the same year, the 1st team finished 2nd in the South African Universities (SAU) tournament, and in the process beat their arch rival, Wits by a score of 7 goals to 1. Two years later, the 1st team repeated its achievement of 1956 by winning the University championship. Six of its players were included in the SAU team, and no less than seven players in the Northern Transvaal team. Tukkies football continued its excellent achievements in 1965 and ended third in the Transvaal league, the highest position among all the Pretoria teams.
In 1966 the 1st team’s record stood as follows:
· 2nd place at the SAU tournament;
· 4 players in the SAU team; and
· 8 players in the Northern Transvaal teams.
In that year the club entered five teams in the local league for the first time. By 1968 interest had increased such that residence teams competed against each other, however on a friendly match basis, as a formal house league did not exist at the time.
Towards the end of the 1960s Tukkies football experienced a crisis due to lack of floodlighting at the cricket oval where matches were played. This limited practice time and to an extent that club trainer resigned. The number of players also decreased, such the club could hardly field two teams.
By 1970 matters had somewhat improved and two successful short tours could be undertaken. That year the manager of the cafeteria on the main campus, Mr Helmuth Biedermann became President of the Club and the club received a new lease of life. A very important development in the 1970s was the establishment of a residence league in 1975. Nine teams entered and in the long term this league would have a very positive effect on the level of play of the higher ranked teams. For example, the 1st team began again to prove itself at intervarsity level by coming second at the 1975 SAU tournament and contributing players to the SAU team on a regular basis. In 1977 Tukkies Football was honoured when its captain, Reinwald Egner, was chosen as the captain of the SAU team.
By 1978 Tukkies was the only Pretoria amateur club that had a team in the Transvaal First League. With the help of a new top coach, Howard Jones, the club defended its status in the local league beating Sparta convincingly. In that year Tukkies on attained fourth place in the SAU due to discrepancies in the points system despite excellent performances. Three players however were chosen for the SAU team, and among them was Reinwald Egner, who was included for the third consecutive year. The high level of play continued in 1979 when several Tukkies players were included in the Northern Transvaal team in a match against Eastern Transvaal and the Currie Cup competition. One such player was Peter Anthony who was selected for the SAU team that year. The first team continued its good performance in 1980 with the highlight being defeating a professional team called Ramblers 7-0 in the Transvaal League.
The year 1981 was exceptional for Tukkies football in terms of the impressive record below:
· 2nd place in the Transvaal League as the team with the least goals scored against them;
· Tied for 1st place with Wits and Ikeys at the SAU tournament;
· 4 players selected for the SAU team.
· Peter Anthony being selected to play for the South African Currie Cup team making this the highest honour an amateur player could achieve at the time as the Currie Cup team enjoyed equal status as the Springbok team.
In 1982 three Tukkies students represented their provinces in football with one selected to the SAU team.
As of 1999, the club took a different and more professional outlook in the following manner:
· End of 1999: Football becomes one of the 10 Priority Sports at UP and the 1st full time coach is appointed.
· 2000: The club grows to 6 teams that participated in local leagues. In total, 26 residence teams participated in the internal league. A Junior programme with 12 teams participated in the local league.
· 2001: The senior team continued to do well in the local league. The TuksFootball Clubhouse was constructed to create a home for the football club.
· 2002: The senior football team won the provincial league, and the men’s team won the South African Student Sport Union (SASSU) national championship.
· 2003-04: TS Soccer (Pty) Ltd purchases a 3rd division team/franchise to herald the formation of the AmaTuks.
· 2004-05: The TuksFootball men’s team won the SASSU championship for the 2nd year running. AmaTuks wins promotion into the National First Division (NFD) of the National Soccer League (NSL).
· 2005-06: Seven Tuks players (4 men and 3 women) are selected into the South African national teams.
· 2006-07: The club has now grown to 60 teams with the elite team participating in the NFD. The SASSU team finished 2nd at the national championship. Six AmaTuks players are selected into the national teams of South Africa (3), Zambia (2) and Botswana (1). A total of 787 students participated in the football internal league.
· 2007-08: The men’s team finishes 2nd in the University Sport South Africa. AmaTuks finishes 3rd in the NFD League and qualifies for the playoffs into the PSL, losing the final match to AmaZulu, and failing to get promotion.
· 2008-09: AmaTuks finishes 3rd in the NFD league.
· 2009-10: AmaTuks beat Kaizer Chiefs, Bloemfontein Celtic and Ajax Cape Town before losing to Moroka Swallows in the Nedbank Cup Finals by a score of 1 – 0.
· 2010-11: AmaTuks just lose out on getting into the playoffs for a spot in the PSL right at the end of the season.
· 2011-12: AmaTuks win the NFD title and gain automatic promotion into the PSL.
· 2012-13: AmaTuks play the first season in the PSL. Finish number 8 in the first attempt at top flight football.
Football at the University of Pretoria appears to have very few equals in South Africa at this point in time. The AmaTuks continues to carry the flag, with the TuksFootball Academy proving to be the place to go to for developmentally appropriate football development. Other programmes continue to portray the University of Pretoria’s Football Club as the most comprehensive and holistic in terms of long term athlete development and a place where sport development, participation and high performance continue to add value to the programme.