The University of Johannesburg are prepared to embrace the challenge of playing away when they clash with Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in the Varsity Football final in Tshwane on September 22.
Ironically, the unbeaten TUT side also won their semi-final in a shoot-out, defeating NWU-Mafikeng 4-3.
This season UJ have produced some of their best results away from home and coach Mandla Zwane is confident they will handle the challenge which lies ahead.
“I do not want to sound arrogant but we’re one of only two teams to take points off TUT,” he said in reference to their 1-1 draw at the TUT Stadium.
UJ’s other key results away from home came in an opening 6-2 win over NWU-Mafikeng and a 4-2 win over Fort Hare in their final fixture before the play-offs.
The result over Fort Hare was a crucial one in that it enabled UJ to qualify for the semis after they had dropped points in other matches.
UJ, who did not qualify for the competition last year, reached the Varsity Football final in 2014, losing to UP-Tuks. Now, Zwane said, they wanted to make amends.
“Getting to the final is what we wanted to achieve,” said Zwane, “because it gives us the chance to bury the memories of 2014. We now want to go one better than what we did two years ago.”
Although UJ wobbled at stages, Zwane said they had never lost sight of their initial goal, which was to finish in the top four.
“The teams that were above us were also dropping points. I just kept telling the boys that they must believe we can go through and that’s how it turned out,” he said.
The coach added that back-to-back wins against Wits and Fort Hare in their final two games had been crucial in boosting the team’s confidence.