Who Will Have The Safest Hands At The Varsity Football Final?
Varsity Football Final: Who Will Have The Safest Hands
In the build-up to any major final, the spotlight is always on the men who are most likely to score that winning goal. But what is often taken for granted are the goalkeepers who keep them at bay.
In knockout matches, the advent of a penalty shootout is also a harsh reality, but also an opportunity for the keepers to finally take centre stage.
It will be no different in this season’s Varsity Football showpiece between TUT and UP-Tuks, set to be held on Thursday evening at the Tshwane University of Technology campus.
In the white corner for UP-Tuks, there is Dalyan Hawes. Hawes is hugely-experienced goalkeeper that has played abroad for Lindsey Wilson College in the United States of America’s college football leagues. Prior to his departure for the USA, Hawes also had spells with both Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs.
Upon return to South Africa, Hawes had a short stint with Chippa United in the Premier Soccer League last season where he was faced with keeping out Soweto giants Orlando Pirates.
Hawes, therefore, should have no problem with the pressure associated with a Varsity Football final, and his teammates will, in fact, look at him to provide the calmness to the team.
In the red corner for TUT, there is Sikhumbuzo Ncube. With all the focus on the free-scoring TUT strikers, Ncube’s contribution has almost slipped under the radar.
However, Ncube has been the rock that TUT have built their formation on as he has not let the team down when called upon. In fact, Ncube has made some timely saves when matches have been the balance to allow TUT to absorb the opposition’s attacking forays without conceding a goal.
It was in the semi-final, though, that Ncube really stood up for his team. With the defending champions reduced to 10-men, the shot-stopper pulled off an acrobatic penalty save in regular time while producing some more breathtaking saves during the game.
But Ncube was not done yet. With the Central University of Technology forcing the match into a penalty shootout, he held his nerve when it mattered most to put CUT’s Neo Sebudi off balance to propel TUT into the final.