Kick-off for varsity football

Mogan Segadavan

NELSON Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) will be one of eight universities taking part in the Varsity Football Challenge that kicks off at campuses countrywide on Monday.

The competition received a major boost on Monday when it was officially sanctioned by Safa.

The launch of the competition at NMMU took place on Wednesday.

Varsity Football is the latest addition to the popular Varsity Sports initiative, organised by the University Sports Company (a conglomerate of South African universities) and its exclusive service provider, Advent Sport Entertainment and Marketing.

It follows the massive success earlier this year of Varsity Athletics and Varsity Hockey, and that of Varsity Sevens Rugby and Varsity Beach Volleyball, which were launched last year.

Also in the pipeline is the Varsity Netball series, to start in September.

The new soccer competition will pit the country’s best male university teams against each other in a format designed to boost the sport at tertiary level and provide a breeding ground for exciting new soccer talent. Eight universities – the University of Witwatersrand (Wits), North-West University (Mahikeng campus), Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), University of Pretoria (Tuks), University of the Western Cape (UWC), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), University of the Free State (UFS) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) – will take each other on at different campuses on Monday nights, with two matches televised live on SuperSport every week.

After the conclusion of the round-robin phase, the top four teams will move on to the semifinals, with the winners contesting the final to determine the first Varsity Football champion a week later.

Of the 23 universities, 11 signed on for the competition. Limpopo, Stellenbosch and Wits – were eliminated in the preliminary round.

“NMMU is privileged to be part of the new competitions that have so far included women’s beach volleyball, rugby 7s, athletics, women’s hockey and now the Varsity Sports Football competition, which kicks off on Monday with the NMMU Madibaz’s first match an away game against UWC”, NMMU director of sport Richard Stretch said.

NMMU Madibaz captain Kurt Duff said the competition provided players the chance “to compete at a higher level and be noticed”.

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