26 July 2023 | Story Samkelo Fetile | Photo Sello Leeto
Kovsie Squad 2023
Kovsie men’s team ahead of the 2023 Varsity Football Tournament.

With the kick-off of the 2023 Varsity Football tournament around the corner, the University of the Free State (UFS) men’s team knows what is expected of them and will hope to do better than the previous two seasons.

Tebogo Motsamai, coach of the Kovsie team, says the boys cannot wait for the tournament to start. He says: “The boys are in the final phases of their preparation, with the goal of peaking at just the right time – and I must say, they are very excited about yet another opportunity to showcase their skills and talent on the pitch in front of their fans."

Kovsies ready for another test

Motsamai fancies their chances of winning the trophy but also sees the occasion as an opportunity to continue the teams’ development, as they are also gearing up for a new season in the ABC Motsepe League. 

“Throughout my coaching career, every tournament I have taken part in has taught me something. So, I always tell the boys that it is important to always have the right attitude, mindset, and to always be students of the game. I have faith in the team, they know what is expected of them and I believe they can go on and win the trophy. This is also an opportunity for us to build momentum ahead of this year’s ABC Motsepe League,” says Motsamai.

They were finalists in 2021 and semi-finalists the following year. Captain Aphiwe Zulu, Bachelor of Administration student, says this year they are confident that they can stretch themselves again. 

“We know what is expected of us and we know we will need to elevate our efforts to heights we have not yet accomplished, but we are fully focused on doing well. I am very fortunate to be captain of such an amazing group of players and I certainly am hopeful that something meaningful will come from all our hard work. We have prepared very well. A good dose of dedication has helped us reach performances worthy of great praise, and with our fans rallying behind us, that will without a doubt continue,” says the tall centre-back. He will be playing in his third Varsity Football tournament.

Kovsie selection delights Jansen

Jerome Jansen, a first-year Bachelor of Administration student who will be making his debut this year, is satisfied with his selection and says he cannot wait to showcase his skills in the tournament.

“I am still a junior in the team, so this is a great opportunity to step up. I know what is expected of me, I have a good relationship with all my coaches and teammates. They all recognised my value in the team, and I will do my best to repay that trust with good performances to help us move forward,” the winger beamed.

Godfrey Tenoff, head of soccer at the UFS, says it is all about the student experience. “We are more concerned with student experience, especially for first-year students. It must be something they can carry with them during their four years of study and after they leave, they can always reflect back on those good memories. I would say for the alumni as well – you will see a lot of them present at the stadium. A competition of this magnitude also highlights that there is football development on campus, the expertise, and the staff to help with the development.” 

A call for support

Temba Hlasho, Executive Director in the UFS Department of Student Affairs, urged the entire UFS community to come out in numbers in support of the team. “We have five home games, and this is something that has never happened before, so I would like everyone to go to Shimla Park and fill the stadium to its capacity. I would like our fans to make it felt and known that at the UFS, we support our boys, and we love our institution.”

Jerry Laka, Director at UFS Kovsie Sport, also banged the drum ahead of the tournament. “It is high time we bring it home, especially with so much talent at our disposal. Shimla Park is not an easy place to visit for an away side, as they can be so daunted by the prospect that they are beaten in the tunnel before a ball has been kicked.” 

The team consists of one South Campus student, five from the Qwaqwa Campus, and the rest from the Bloemfontein Campus. “The multi-model relation is a reality in the team, and we are proud as a code to align ourselves with the university’s Vision 130,” said Motsamai.

The UFS Kovsies start their campaign against the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) at the Shimla Park Stadium on 27 July 2023, kicking off at 19:15.

24-men squad:

Goalkeepers: Tisetso Seodinyane, Thembekile Mhlathi, Makhaya Lethokuhle

Defenders: Aphiwe Zulu, Thato Skhosana, Itumeleng Louw, Bongani Ndimande, Lizwi Kunene, Sandile Mhlanga, Thandolwethu Khoza, Obakeng Seekoei, and Iviwe Dyabuza

Midfielders: Jerome Jansen, Ethen Goldstone, Sabelo Mthembu, Reatlehile Meya, Tyson-Wright Phiri, Eon Pieterse

Forwards: Arlonso Diedricks, Thato Nkhatho, Omphemetse Athibeng, Boy Rantsoti, Jermein Marou, Sambulo Sithole

Head Coach: Tebogo Motsamai

Assistant Coaches: Martin Sethuntsa and Goodman Mazibuko

Tickets available at the Callie Human reception, UFS or at click here to purchase online.  

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