The University of Pretoria men's varsity team are the 2015 USSA Football National Club Champions after successfully defending their national title at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein this past week.
The team won the title when the tournament was hosted by the Durban University of Technology in 2014. The tournament is normally held in the first week of December each year but it was postponed in 2015 due to the student strikes across most campuses.
Tuks opened the tournament with a 3-0 win against Walter Sisulu University Mthata campus, then in the second match drew 1-1 with the home team Central University of Technology and then went on to beat University of Cape Town 1-0 in the third and final group match.
The boys then went on to beat neighbours and arch rivals TUT Pretoria on penalties in the quarter final and then beat University of Fort Hare 2-0 in the semi final. It was a case of dejavu what the team came up against Central University of Technology in the final; but there was no draw to be had this time and Tuks ran out 2-1 winners to reclaim their title.
"We assembled a strong team for this tournament and I thought we had a good mix of experienced and new players who are exciting to watch. The attitude and desire is what we were looking for in the players and we got that from the players and that also lifted team spirit. It is never easy coming to this tournament because we are the team that everyone wants to beat; not only because we are Tuks but also because we are the defending champions. We are always up for the challenge and we came here with the belief that we will beat any team that is put in front of us;" said Jan "Mabuza" Motaung, who replaced Evangelos Vellios and was coaching in his very first tournament as the head coach on the team.
At the gala dinner on the final day central midfielder Khumbulani "Cheese" Siluma won the player of the tournament award, John Matlala won team manager of the tournament and Dylan Paterson won goalkeeper of the tournament.
The tournament format has changed and starting in 2016 there will be two divisions. Division A which will comprise of the top twenty university teams in the country and then Division B. From 2017 there will be promotion and relegation from the two divisions. Tuks men and women will be competing in division A which will be hosted by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, 05 - 09 December 2016.