UP’s footballers have faced a tough season this year both in university and national leagues. AmaTuks was relegated to the National First Division (NFD) this year after a difficult 2015/2016 campaign in the Premier Soccer League (PSL). By virtue of AmaTuks finishing second from last on the log (15th), they had the opportunity to resurrect themselves back into the PSL by playing in the promotion/relegation playoffs. They played along with Mbombela United and Highlands Park. However, their fate was sealed and their demotion to the NFD was confirmed as they failed to score a win in the playoffs, and subsequently finished in third place.
The UP-Tuks men’s football team was crowned the 2015 University Sports South Africa (USSA) football champions in March earlier this year. They defeated Central University of Technology (CUT) 2-1 at the University of the Free State where the event was hosted. The tournament usually takes place in December, but due to the protests that occurred at universities throughout the country late last year, the event had to be moved.
The men’s team looked to build on from their promising start to the year, particularly in the annual Varsity Football tournament, which started in July. Towards the end of the Varsity Football campaign, UP-Tuks was engrossed in a tight battle with competing universities to secure a spot in the semi-finals. A crucial 3-2 loss to the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in round seven of the tournament left UP-Tuks in fifth place (out of a total of eight teams) with an insufficient points tally to progress to the semi-finals. The UP-Tuks women’s football team endured a much tougher Varsity Football campaign in 2016, ultimately finishing the tournament in seventh position.
Both the UP-Tuks men’s and women’s teams hope for a reversal of fortunes following their Varsity Football disappointments. They could still end their seasons on a positive note at the 2016 USSA football tournament. This tournament will take place at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan