With the FNB Varsity Shield presented by Steinhoff International increasing the number of teams in the competition to seven, Walter Sisulu University is one of three additional teams, and the locals could have not asked for a better start to the year.
After a rather below-par campaign from the University of Fort Hare, the men from Alice have a steep road ahead of them. With their arch rivals Walter Sisulu University joining the competition, it will all come down to who has the bragging rights in the region.
The men from Alice have been hard at work, with their last win coming against the neighbours and also newcomers to the competition, Rhodes University.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said the soft-spoken Fort Hare coach Carlos Katywa. “We welcome the two institutions to Varsity Shield, but nothing will be given on a silver platter. We have been working hard, ensuring the boys’ academics are on point just as much as their strength, conditioning and skills.”
The men from Alice will face Walter Sisulu University as they kick off their 2017 Varsity Shield campaigning. It’s a game that embodies the true meaning of a derby; it cannot and will not get any bigger or more personal than this. With only one fixture in the season between them, the winner will have bragging rights until next year. But as many have seen, from the Varsity 7s games, there is a deep level of respect between the two institutions. There is a song “Ukugwija” as the locals call it, that both teams sung when they played each other at Varsity 7s a year ago, and the message from the song is “Time has gone, do not be scared my brother, for the time to fight is near,” a song that was sung before warriors went to war.
The men from University of Fort Hare are upbeat ahead of their season this year, and a number of new players that have joined them. It’s should be nothing short of fireworks tomorrow.
“What is or was not done before today will forever remain useless, for it is too late to add anything. Rather, it’s time to measure how well we prepared, no amount of pressure will defer us from our goals for this season, we are just humbled by the opportunities offered to us by Varsity Shield and the University,” said a cool and calm captain Zanoxolo Qwele.
The grass is cut, the lines are painted, kit is brand new and players are ready to rock once more. Catch the game live on SuperSport at 19:00.
UFH starting XV: 15 Wilfred Bowers, 14 Zayne Farmers, 13 Somila Jho, 12 Xolela Daniels, 11Sibongile Novuka, 10 Jeandre Christian, 9 Lindokuhle Kenene, 8 Thulani Njenje, 7 Leon Ndlovu, 6 Zanoxolo Qwele, 5 Philisani Ncoko, 4 Sibusiso Sityebi, 3 Bulelani Mdodana, 2 Mkhonto Caku-caku,1 Asiphe Fanele
Replacements: 16 Lulamile Kama, 17 Lixhanti Tame,18 Chuma Biyana,19 Sokhana` Mpemba, 20 Qhama Masiza, 21 Cleo Adams, 22 Luyolo Batshise, 23 Sivuyile Mdishwa
WSU starting XV: 15 Zizipho Kayi, 14 Khanyiso Roloma, 13 Ludwe Jack, 12 Luzuko Mafu, 11 Ntando Mfengu, 10 Lituka Sinegugu, 9 Minenhle Ngidi, 8 Chumani Mjacu, 7 Lubabalo Lento, 6 Mihlali Qoma, 5 Athenkosi Khethani, 4 Mihlali Mosi, 3 Thabo Ngcem, 2 Siyamthanda Sineko, 1 Sinesipho Phuzi
Replacements: 16 Sandile Buthelezi, 17 Babonelele Ciliwe, 18 Yanga Wani, 19 Xolani Mbombo, 20 Siphosihle Magawu, 21 Lusanda Xakwana, 22 Khwezi Zinto, 23 Athenkosi Ndzenene
By Kgoboko Kgoboko