Wits pulled off a dazzling win over an A string Tuks outfit to kick-start their USSA Rugby 2017 aspirations in a most emphatic fashion on Day 1 of USSA Rugby
Wits rampant against Tuks in USSA Rugby opener
Wits pulled off a dazzling win over an A string Tuks outfit to kick-start their USSA Rugby 2017 aspirations in a most emphatic fashion on Day 1 of USSA Rugby at Wits.
BRAAMFONTEIN – In a night filled with heavy rains at the Wits Rugby Stadium on 3 July, colossal rugby action shone bright as Wits announced their presence in the USSA rugby A section for the first time since 2014, by humbling defending USSA champions and current Varsity Cup holders UP Tuks 32–27.
Wits expertly ran into open spaces and caused all kinds of problems for the Tuks back-line while exploiting an expansive and attack-minded game of rugby. In the end, the team managed to cross the whitewash four times through full-back Luxolo Ntsepe, left wing Daniel Kusende and twice through right wing Kwanele Ngema.
Wits went into the half time break 21–13 ahead; a lead that was further extended shortly after the resumption as a blistering run down the right flank by Ngema notched up Wits’ fourth and final try of the night, the resulting conversion kick from the boot of fly half Warren Gilbert going inches wide.
Tuks were, however, not content with being spectators and instigated a mini comeback of their own by notching up two converted tries in the second period. Tuks left wing Abrie Reynolds nearly capped off a brilliant night with the boot as he put away two out of three conversions to go along with his two tries and two penalty kicks. Fly half Kurt Webster managed the other Tuks try.
Wits head coach Hugo van As said the team couldn’t have asked for a better start to the campaign. “It was a huge game for us. I think the guys did very, very well…the team went deep and showed a lot of character to pull this one off at the end of the day,” he said.
“The Varsity Cup taught us how to handle pressure but we understand that this is a different league,” van As added. “You play three different teams in the question of three days, and so for us it’s a great honour and privilege to be here.”
The result on Monday evening was the first time since 1969 that the Witsies managed to beat Tukkies. It is also the first time ever they progress to the semi-finals of the USSA Rugby event.
Wits put on a good showing in USSA Hockey 2017
- Tshepiso Mametela
The Home of Hockey beams with pride as Wits close out USSA Hockey 2017 at the back of a phenomenal run for both the men’s and women’s sides.
PARKTOWN – The curtain fell on an incredible USSA Hockey 2017 campaign for hosts Wits, who, after sweeping past the competition en route to booking play-off spots in the men’s and women’s A sections respectively, came up short in the semi-finals played at the Wits Astro in Parktown on 1 July.
Wits Ladies were first in line and pulled out all the stops in attempts to end the might of cross-town rivals UJ. A dominant display in the closing stages saw Wits ace Nicky Veto's runs into the UJ 25-yard area causing problems, while an off-load to Toni Marks’s came precariously close to hitting the mark. The tie headed for a penalty shootout, which UJ ultimately won 3–0.
In the men’s semi-final, Wits took on NMMU with early signs of promise evident as a sensational Brandon James effort gifted the side an early lead in the first chukka. Dan Cairncross equalized for NMMU from the penalty spot before Curtis Samboer scrambled a shot past goal for a 2–1 lead at the break. Wits threw everything at it in the dying minutes of the match; Callan Dawar’s defiance in defence, however, earning NMMU a spot in the final following a third place finish in 2016.
“We’ve had an exceptional campaign…our main goal was to come in the top four and that we achieved. However, had we reached the final in would’ve been extraordinary,” said Wits Ladies head coach Pietie Coetzee-Turner. “We were still the better team on the day. When you get to a penalty shootout, it’s very luck-based to an extent, but it was a good game and I’m very proud of the team.”
It was the first time that both the Wits men’s and women’s teams qualified for the A section semi-finals, following B section contention for the men in 2016 and the women’s side in 2015. As a result, Wits have made the semi-finals seven times at eight events in the last two years, including Varsity Men’s Hockey 2016, Varsity Women’s Hockey 2017 and the Southern Gauteng [men’s and women’s] League in 2016.
Wits women’s captain Luche Klaasen said making the semi-finals after competing in the B section in 2015 and finishing 6th in the A section last year was a massive achievement. “We started building this team three years ago in the B section of the tournament,” she said. “So I don’t really think it that disappointing. I’m actually quite happy…we are champions and deserved to win the game, but [in the end] it’s just how it is.”
Wits primed for contention in USSA Hockey 2017
- Tshepiso Mametela
The stage has been set, predictions have been cast and calendars marked as Wits once again look to deliver the goods in the annual USSA Hockey tournament.
BRAAMFONTEIN – A bumper sporting schedule encroaches as Wits play host to USSA Hockey at the Braamfontein East Campus from 28 June to 2 July, before attending to respective USSA Rugby, Chess and Gymnastics events at the same venue from 3 to 7 July.
At last year's USSA event, Wits coasted to championship victory in the men's hockey B section to earn a placing for A section contention in 2017, while the women's side stumbled in their attempts to make a reckoning. An unimpressive showing earned Wits a 6th place finish overall in the women's A section, following promotion from the second tier in 2015.
Wits men's hockey head coach, Rick West is, however, unfazed by the challenge of competing in the men's A section and believes his team primed to emulate their 2016 Varsity Hockey feat, by making the semi-finals at the very least. "This is the level we believe we should be competing at and we believe we have what it takes to go all the way in this tournament," he said. "Our program started in late January and since the very first session, we have been preparing for this week. We have had a good build up and the team has been expertly conditioned by our conditioning coach, Khavs Harry . We are as ready as we can be."
Wits will tackle Maties, Varsity College and UJ in the pool games of the men's A section, while the women's A section sees Wits take on UP Tuks, NMMU Madibaz and Maties ahead of the play-offs on 1 and 2 July. "We find ourselves in the pool of death with three other really good teams. We have worked on many different tactics to overcome any situation they may throw at us," said West. "The players have a strong will to win and we believe we have a great chance at going all the way."
Wits Hockey sports officer Erika Venter added that the tournament was the perfect melting pot for engaging in healthy competition. "In my opinion, this tournament is probably the toughest, and what makes it so unique is that all the players are bona fide students – all under the age of 26. So you have a good mix between the experienced players playing in their last USSA and the young players trying to make a name for themselves.
"The USSA tournaments are highly competitive and only the top 8 Varsities qualify for the prestigious Varsity Hockey Tournament, so the teams really put everything into their preparation and planning."There is also the camaraderie [formed between] friends as national, provincial and U21 plays compete for their [respective] Universities, but still have the same respect for each other on and off the field. It is a very special tournament and Wits is so proud to be hosting it for two years in a row!"
WITS READY FOR THE HOCKEY WORLD LEAGUE
- Buhle Zuma
Wits University is proud to have been selected as the site for the upcoming 2017 Hockey World League Semi-Finals.
Twenty of the world’s best men’s and women’s national teams will take part in the Hockey World Cup qualifiers from 8 - 23 July 2017 taking place at the Wits Hockey Turf located on the Wits Parktown Education Campus. Australia, Germany, Belgium, New Zealand, Ireland and Spain are the top-10 men’s sides coming to Johannesburg, while England, Argentina, the USA and Germany are the leading nations taking part in the women’s tournament.
Wits University was awarded the honour to host the international tournament due its world-class facilities. The Wits Hockey Turf which was built in 2013, is one of a few hockey turfs in South Africa that meets the stringent requirements of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the organisers of the Hockey World Cup.
“We are delighted to contribute to the beautiful game of hockey and that our facilities are able to attract international events to South Africa”, says Adrian Carter, Head of Wits Sports. In addition to the impressive infrastructure, Wits University also boasts an illustrious hockey history when it comes to sporting talent.
Current Wits students who have been called to represent South Africa are Toni Marks, Rusten Abrahams, Luche Klaasen and Zimi Shange. Another Witsie Petro Stoffberg plays for Namibia’s national women’s team, while several Witsies have played for South Africa’s under-21 squad.
The coaching staff at Wits consists of former national hockey players and Olympians (Pietie Coetzee-Turner, Ricky West, Fiona Butler and Tsoanelo Pholo). The ever-soaring Wits female hockey team is coached by SA’s former leading player and world record holder for the most goals scored in internationals, Coetzee-Turner, who represented the country at the 2000, 2004 and 2012 Summer Olympics.
The site of the Johannesburg semi-finals is also home to the Centre for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine that was accredited in 2008 as Africa’s first FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence. It has since also been accredited as a FIMS (International Sports Medicine Federation) Collaborating Centre of Sports Medicine.
Also on this site, less than 100 feet away is the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital strategically located near the Wits Medical Clinic and the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in order to facilitate the sharing of specialised skills and knowledge.
Wits rampant against Wanderers
Wits University kept their Pirates Grand Challenge semi-finals hope alive with a well-deserved 47-20 victory over Wanderers on Monday night
Three Witsies, the finisher Daniel Kapepula, Lions scrumhalf Krappie van den Berg and the stepper Lux Ntsepe scored two tries each.
The Under 21s were the stars of the night with Manny Mbatha and Taine Chabant in brilliant form. The beat the Wanderers U/21's 94-8 in their best performance of the year. Chabant also had a run for the firsts later in the evening.
Van der Berg, a Faf de Klerk look-alike who speeds up the game verysimilair to the blonde Bok, made a huge impact for the Wits 1st XV.
Coach Hugo van As, who’se troops are depleted at the moment, is hoping to have the blonde nine in the Varsity Cup plans for next season. Ntsepe again made a huge impact with his stepping game and Kapepula is a finisher of note.
The Witsies will meet Randfontein at the campus on Friday night.
Wits: Tries: Lux Ntsepe (2), Daniel Kapepula (2), Morné van den Berg (2), Kwanele Ngema. Conversions: Brendan Hewitt (6)
Picture: The rampant Under 21s
Marathon sporting fest comes to Wits
- Tshepiso Mametela
Text books will be traded for sporting gear as scholars turn into brawlers for a week of action-packed excitement during the USSA 2017 Winter event
BRAAMFONTEIN – Following an impressive University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament in 2016, Wits University will be itching to get their 2017 campaign underway when the flagship winter varsity sporting event kicks-off on 3 July. Wits will play host to rugby, hockey, chess and gymnastics in what is expected to be a week of actioned-packed excitement at the Wits Main Campus in Braamfontein.
In a hotly contested final in the men’s basketball A section at Wits University last year, the Wits Horny Bucks saw off ten time USSA basketball champions Vaal University of Technology (VUT) by beating them 68–58 to claim a maiden title. In what was also a mouth-watering basketball affair, the Lady Bucks missed out on silverware after narrowly going down to a determined VUT Ladies outfit in the final.
This year, however, Wits basketball sports officer Ntshembo Vukeya said the Lady Bucks would be in search for a change in fortunes. “Looking at the log standing from the qualifiers, I have great confidence that our ladies will be the 2017 USSA champions,” said Vukeya. “Coming into this tournament, you will always have challenges [such as] playing away from home and facing some of the best University clubs in the country. But I’m confident both teams will make the finals.”
Meanwhile, Wits Rugby will contest the men’s rugby A section for the first time since 2014, following an equally emphatic 2016 campaign at the Walter Sisulu University (WSU) where they won the men’s rugby B section final by handing the University of the Western Cape (UWC) a 77–0 thumping. Wits will open their account against the defending champions University of Pretoria (UP Tuks) on Day 1.
“In the Wake of USSA 2017, Wits University entered Varsity Cup 2017 as the rookies and did not only want to [make up] the numbers, but really compete against the top dogs,” said Wits rugby sports officer Amigo Ngcakana. “We’d love to put on a good showing, especially with staging the USSA rugby tournament in our own backyard.”
Montsho Matlala, football sports officer at Wits conceded that Wits face a difficult task ahead in the men’s football A section but remained optimistic. The team come up against Eastern Cape champions WSU on Day 1, before taking on USSA 2016 finalists and Varsity Football 2016 semi-finalists, Central University of Technology (CUT) on Day 2. Day 3 will see the side book a date with reigning Varsity Football champions, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT).
“It is definitely the group of death but we’ve obviously done our research and are preparing well for this tournament,” said Matlala. “We have set a mandate to win the tournament and have told the players that we do not want any excuses. I see us as the underdogs which will help us during the tournament.” He added, “Not qualifying for Varsity Football in 2018 is not an option and would be gutted if that happens.”
The Wits Ladies football side, on the other hand, will relish the home assignment after drafting in the services of former Banyana Banyana player Nthabeleng Modiko as head coach in March. “Nthabeleng is doing an amazing job with the ladies as they are currently first in their regional league,” added Matlala. Wits Ladies are pitted alongside UP Tuks, North-West University (NWU-Pukke) and the University of Cape Town (UCT), all of whom are in the women’s Varsity Football 2017 competition.
Tebogo Rabothata, Wits netball sports officer said netball preparations were also in full swing. “The netball USSA team preparations are underway and began [in the first week of June]. In the weeks leading up to USSA, our training has intensified with our focus shifting from how we fare against other teams to individual strength and conditioning. The team will have a few more gym sessions as well as team training sessions ahead of the tournament.”
Results will be tweeted on @WitsSport for all the days’ round of fixtures during the tournament.
Great victory for Wits Rugby over log-leaders Pirates
The University of the Witwatersrand rang one of the biggest surprises in the Pirates league this far this season when they beat Pirates 36-34
The University of the Witwatersrand rang one of the biggest surprises in the Pirates league this far this season when they beat Pirates 36-34 at the University grounds on Saturday.
It was a fitting farewell to centre Josh Jarvis, one of the true Witsies who scored one of the tries in his last game.
The Witsies are squarely back in the title race and the loss sets Pirates back in their attempt to qualify for the Gold Cup.Captain on the day, Conor Brockschmidt, was instrumental in the victory but the foundation was undoubtedly laid in the scrum. The Witsies didn’t only neutralize the Pirates scrum but dominated this aspect of play.
Speedy winger Jacques Swart scored a brace for Pirates as did Daniel Kapepula for the students. Flyhalf Bader Pretorius lasted about 25 minutes before being replaced by Brandon Hewitt and they both did an outstanding job while Kallie Erasmus also stepped up.
This victory means that Wits moved into third place of the log with Pirates moving down to fourth.
Pirates: Tries: Jacques Swart (2), Adri Venter, Wade Worthington. Conversions: Stokkies du Plessis (3). Panelaties: Du Plessis (3).
Wits Fencers in the Western Cape Open
Five Wits fencers braved the onset of exam season and set off for the Western Cape Open in Cape Town.
The province is the biggest fencing province in South Africa (only after Gauteng), so competition was extremely fierce – but we were not daunted and competed in both the Foil and Epée categories. Our extensive Foil training over the past few weeks reflected in our vastly improved results and our fencers climbed the rankings in this category. We also managed to bring home a Gold medal in Men’s Senior Sabre, courtesy of Jeremy Saner. Congratulations to all our fencers for putting our hard-earned skills to the test, and for braving the toughest national tournament of the year despite exams starting this week.
Two Wits women managed to hit the top 20 in the national rankings, in both Foil and Epee. Their rankings after the tournament are as follows:
6th in Senior Women’s Foil
13th in Senior Women’s Epée
16th in Senior Women’s Foil
19th in Senior Women’s Epée
Jeremy Saner, our resident Saber Fencer, is ranked as follows:
1st in U20 Men’s Saber
2nd in Senior Men’s Saber
Our two newest fencers who joined the club in 2017 have already made their mark in the national rankings. We are extremely proud of them for attending their first national tournament, despite the Western Cape Open being one of the most challenging – the experience gained will be invaluable. Their national ranking debuts are as follows:
31st in Senior Men’s Foil
62nd in Senior Men’s Epée
28th in Senior Men’s Foil
60th in Senior Men’s Epée
Onwards and upwards for our members – next up, the KZN Open. Good luck to all athletes for exams!
ICSL and JC light up basketball scene in Joburg and beyond
- Tshepiso Mametela
The Inner City Super League (ICSL) has had a stellar run in the four years’ since its inception in 2013. This year was no different with 29 participating teams
The Inner City Super League (ICSL) has had a stellar run in the four years’ since its inception in 2013. This year was no different as the 29 participating teams, comprising university and club teams, battled it out for supremacy at the Wits University Sports Hall and UJ Soweto campus respectively, in what is largely considered the premium regional basketball league in South Africa.
BRAAMFONTEIN – It was the turn of the Braamfontein Blues, who, after enduring a dismal 2015 campaign were relegated to the second division for the 2016 season. The team fought bravely, however, and won the 2016 ICSL D2 (Division 2) championship to secure a place in D1 (Division1) in 2017.Following on from last year’s success, the side punched far above their weight to claim premium bragging rights in the recently concluded season. This, after they recorded an emphatic 90 – 73 points win over the MBB Kegs in the ICSL D1 final.
D2 served up equal excitement as the Tshwane Phantoms knuckled down to record a hard-fought 67 – 59 victory over Corinthians BWA. It was in the Phantom’s third-ever final that Lady Luck finally made an appearance to gift the Tshwane outfit championship status following a solid showing in the 2017 campaign. Meanwhile, in the Junior Championship (JC), the Tshwane Warriors were eager to emulate their more storied compatriots from the administrative capital. The Warriors did just that by defying the odds to clinch the JC title in their debut season; narrowly beating their more fancied opponents, the Tip-Off Sports Vikings 69 – 65 in the final.
The ladies were not to be outdone, however, as the Phoenix Flames – another team making their debut in the ICSL – contested a final. The Flames lined up against the Wits Lady Bucks in their own back yard, but showed little to no signs of being intimidated. All be it in front of a raucous Wits home support, the Flames held their nerve in a heated affair to pull off a surprise 59 – 45 victory over the Lady Bucks.
Speaking to Wits Sport at the conclusion of the 2017 season, ICSL Director Manyani Maseko, said the League has grown from strength to strength over the years. “The league has attracted some of the best talent South Africa has to offer, from high school level to varsity level, as well as senior level,” said Maseko. “We have quite a few provincial, national and BNL (Basketball National League) players who partake in our league.
“Each year over the last [four] years, there has been a new aspect added to the league. [Whether] it’s more teams, a men’s Division 2, a Ladies Division…We are always looking to improve the game of basketball in one way or another.”
ICSL co-founder, Tshiamo Ngakane said the league holds its own in terms of producing players who make it into the national team. “The league has grown every year and is the strongest league in South Africa with 70% of all national team players over the last 5 years all coming from ICSL,” he said. “The inclusion of Juniors has created a platform where the top Gauteng basketball prospect at high school level have been showcased and given a platform for recruitment into Wits and other universities.”
Ntshembo Vukeya, basketball Sports Officer at Wits Sport added that the ICSL and JC were viable platforms to nurture talent. “I would like to congratulate the organisers on the way they have run the league.
The league has a system that allows school boys and school girls who have finished their high school to be recruited into a University team. This system makes it easier for Universities to identify talent.”
Wits Hockey gears up for hosting duties
- Tshepiso Mamatela
Wits Hockey braces itself for hosting duties in the form of the 2017 Men’s and Women’s Hockey World League Semi-Finals from 8 to 23 July.
With excitement ahead of the 2017 Hockey World League Finals and the 2018 Hockey World Cups at fever pitch, Wits Hockey braces itself for hosting duties in the form of the 2017 Men’s and Women’s Hockey World League Semi-Finals from 8 to 23 July.
BRAAMFONTEIN – Twenty of the world’s best men’s and women’s national teams will grace the Wits Hockey Club to engage in fierce battle as part of the Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers. Current Hockey Champions Trophy, Hockey World League and Hockey World Cup title holders, Australia will be pitted alongside transoceanic rivals New Zealand as well as Spain, Japan and France in Pool A.
Pool B sees reigning African champions South Africa take on Ireland, Rio 2016 bronze medalists Germany and compatriots Egypt before booking a date with Rio 2016 silver medalists Belgium in their last pool match. In the women’s competition, England will play Rio bronze medalists Germany, Japan, Ireland and Poland in Pool A, while reigning Hockey Champions Trophy and Hockey World League champions Argentina will be up against reigning Pan American champions USA, African champions South Africa, India and Chile in Pool B.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, Wits Hockey Sports Officer, Erika Venter said the excitement of hosting a tournament of this kind was palpable. “We are extremely excited to host an event of this caliber. The quality of hockey that will be showcased on our door step is sure not to be missed,” said Venter, who added that the Wits Hockey Club would use the opportunity to make a strong impression. “We’d like to make an impression not only on the , but also network with hockey stakeholders while providing a platform which will uplift the SA Hockey system as a whole and raise awareness on university hockey clubs in South Africa.”
“There is absolutely no limit to what hard working hockey clubs can accomplish if they’re given the opportunity and encouragement to deliver their best. The Hockey Club is looking forward to celebrating and welcoming world-class hockey at the Home of Wits Hockey.”
According to organisers of the Hockey World League – composed of four rounds and played over two years – the tournament shines a spotlight on the sport around the world and gives participating teams an opportunity to make a name for themselves. “Even the smallest hockey-playing nations have the opportunity to write their own chapter in hockey’s history books,” said International Hockey Federation (FIH) Communications Manager, Danny Parker.
“Johannesburg provides the perfect stage for their dreams to become reality in what is a crucial event in hockey’s international calendar. The top teams from Johannesburg will qualify for two of hockey’s showpiece events, and teams will also be awarded FIH Hero World Ranking points, which could prove crucial in relation to qualification for future events.” Parker added, “With so much on the line, fans will no doubt witness some action-packed matches full of excitement and drama this July. And with 16 days of non-stop world-class hockey, there’s a number of hugely exciting matches for fans to take in.”
To keep up to date with all the latest news relating to the Hockey World League Semi-Finals visit FIH.chwhilst updates will also be posted via FIH Twitter,Facebook andInstagram.
Bidvest Wits crowned the 2016/17 Absa Premiership champions
In the rich 96 years of club history, this is the first time that Bidvest Wits Football club have been crowned league champions
Madlala heaped praises on the Clever Boys | Bidvest Wits
The Braamfontein outfit received a special message of congratulations from the CEO of the PSL. The Premier Soccer League congratulates newly-crowned 2016/17 Absa Premiership champions, Bidvest Wits.
PSL Acting Chief Executive Mato Madlala heaped praises on the ‘Clever Boys’. “The 2016/17 championship race will go down as one of the most impressive and highly contested battles in recent history. I would like to commend all the clubs that put a spirited challenge to the top honours.
“At the end of the day there can only be one winner and this time it was Bidvest Wits who earned the top prize. We would like to congratulate the club for this historic achievement. I’m certain that they will savor this moment for a very long time.”
The PSL and Absa will hand over the Absa Premiership trophy to Bidvest Wits on Saturday, 27 May 2017 at the FNB Stadium.
Wits continue winning streak, defeating defending champions UJ
- Lyndon Julius
The exciting match on Friday 12 May set the standard for the weekend, as University of Witwatersrand (Wits) outclassed defending champions UJ
UJ headed into the encounter as the underdogs after only winning one of their four matches in Stellenbosch last week, while Wits bagged three wins from their four matches. The lead exchanged hands twice as UJ took the lead courtesy of an Ashley Datnow field goal, before Wits levelled matters via a field goal of their own, from SA U21 Nicky Veto, in the third chukka.
The action really got going in the final quarter and shortly after the Witsies opening goal, they took the lead for the first time with a moment of class from Vicky Jonker, making it 4-2 to Wits with less than 10 minutes remaining. A P-flick from Kristen Paton during the Powerplay for UJ took the Gauteng derby to a penalty shootout. In a fiercely contested fight, UJ enjoyed a slender 2-0 lead at half-time. The defending champions UJ were made hard to work for their opening goal scored by Ashleigh Datnow.
Witsies seemed set for their fourth straight win, but there was still fight left in the defending champions. SA U21 player Kristen Paton, scored from the spot during the Powerplay, taking the match to a penalty shootout. The shootout went the way of Wits following some brilliant stick work from the Witsies. This win hands Wits their fourth consecutive victory and with that they are joint leaders with Maties, who have a game in hand, on 12 points.
Mugg & Bean Star Saver: Petro Stofberg (Wits) FNB Player of the Match: Nicky Veto (Wits)
Scores UJ: 4 (3) Goals: Ashley Datnow (Field Goal), Kristen Paton (P-Flick during Powerplay)
Teams UJ: Robyn Ormond (GK), Isabella Da Rocha, Lanne Rossouw, Ashleigh Datnow, Kristen Paton, Lisa Hawker, Alex Kavanagh, Jivanka Kruger, Kerry Trebble, Carmen Smith, Cheneal Raubenheimer Subs: Yonela Dishi, Jenevieve Taljaard, Phia Gerber, Bernice Brink, Nadia Mattana, Erin Moody, Zeena Martin
Wits go big against UKZN
- Reginald Hufkie
Despite comeback attempts by UKZN, Wits put the nail in the coffin by beating them 15-4
A change in weather conditions saw a change in strategy for Pietie Coetzee’s Witsies who came out guns blazing by scoring five goals in the first chukka against debutants UKZN.
Looking to step up their game, UKZN’s Tiffany Jones provided the Stellenbosch spectators with a moment of brilliance by scoring a world-class goal to get the Durban side on the scoreboard. Jones added two more points on the board, but Wits vice-captain Nicole Smith had a different plan in mind when she scored her second goal of the game, making it 7-4 heading into the break.
The determined UKZN side fought back by setting up a defensive structure that saw the third chukka end goalless, possibly setting up one of the biggest comebacks of the weekend against the revived Witsies. Wits’ in-form players Nicky Veto, Nicole Smith and Vicky Jonker, though, turned the game on its head when they scored three impressive goals in the final stages of the game. It ended 15-4 for Wits.
Mugg & Bean Star Saver: Noxolo Manele (UKZN) FNB Player of the Match: Nicole Smith (Wits)
Wits: Lezaan Janse van Vuuren, Nicole Smith (3 Field goals), Vicky Jonker (1 Field, 1 Penalty Corner), Ash Redhead
Wits Fencers participated at the Gauteng Provincial Ranking Tournament
Congratulations to the Wits Fencing Club members who took part in the GFA Ranking 3 tournament held at the Arnold Classic Africa Throwdown
Wits Fencing Club participation in the Gauteng Provincial Ranking Tournament held at the Arnold Classic Africa Throwdown, 6th-7th May 2017.
Congratulations to the Wits Fencing Club members who took part in the GFA Ranking 3 tournament held at the Arnold Classic Africa Throwdown at the Sandton Convention Centre.
Competition was fierce, but the Wits fencers were equal to the challenge.
We express our gratitude and pride in all of our fencers that took part; Roy Gusinow, Daniel Chen, Alistair Unterslak, Michael Gaynor, Paulo Graca, Jeremy Saner, Simona Poelinca, Natalija Cerimaj, Vera Fourie and our captain Andrea Cabanac.
Pictured: (From Left) Paulo Graca, Jeremy Saner, Mike Gaynor, Frankie Snyman and Alister Unterslak
Wits Fencer’s participated in all three weapon categories; Sabre, Epee and Foil; and in both Junior and Senior divisions.
A very special congratulations to the Wits Fencers who won medals and made the club extremely proud:
Andrea Cabanac: Silver in the Senior Women’s Foil
Bronze in the Senior Women’s Epee.
Jeremy Saner: Bronze in the Senior Men’s Foil
Silver in the Senior Men’s Sabre
Gold in the U20 Men’s Sabre
Pictured: The Senior Women’s Foil Medalists!
The team also got to rub shoulders with the Terminator himself, as Arnold Schwarzenegger was in attendance at the event and was kind enough to pose for photos with the fencers.
Pictured: Arnold and Andrea Cabanac.
Furthermore, the Wits Fencing Club will be hosting an internal tournament this Wednesday the 10th May 2017 to put forward our best four fencers for a potential sponsorship to go to the Western Cape Open and the Kwa-Zulu Natal Senior Championships; both of which are National Tournaments where the Club intends to continue leading the student fencing community in South Africa and promoting the sport of fencing overall.
The Wits Fencing Club has also commenced selling Raffle tickets as per our fundraising initiative as a self-funded Club. Raffle tickets cost R40-00 each and the grand prize is a Nike Voucher worth R1500-00 and second Prize is a Nike Voucher worth R750-00.
Tickets are available from any member of the Fencing Club. If you would like to purchase a ticket please contact:
Chairperson Andrea Cabanac firstname.lastname@example.org
All in all, it is a very exciting time for the Wits Fencing Club, I am sure we can look forward to even greater achievements, enjoyment and camaraderie from the Wits Fencers. Onwards and upwards!
Witsies launch impressive comeback to clinch victory against Madibaz
- Reginald Hufkie
Despite trailing at the start of the second half, Pietie Coetzee’s Witsies managed to clinch a 7-3 victory against the Madibaz in Stellenbosh on Saturday night.
In what was predicted to at least be a tough fixture in the first half, the side from Port Elizabeth, Madibaz, made their intensions clear with a goal as early as the third miinute by the in-form Caitlin Gouws. Despite Madibaz’s impact pressure, Wits’ defence remained rock solid, thus ending the first chukka 2-0 in favour of the Madibaz.
Running was the name of the game at the start of the second chukka as both teams showed keen interest in having the ball in their possession. With two Witsies green-carded on the 25th and 26th minute, the Madibaz side could still not work their way through Wits’ defence despite making use of their Powerplay advantage which saw an extra two Wits players sidelined for two minutes. Their break, however, came when Captain Nina Lauren scored an impressive goal from a penalty corner at the end of the first half, making it 3-0 for the ladies from the Eastern Cape.
Madibaz started the second half like a house on fire, but Vicky Jonker turned the game on its head by scoring two impressive goals from a penalty corner and field goal attempt in less than five minutes, equalling the game in fine style. Taking advantage of their goal-scoring momentum, the ladies from Johannesburg worked their way through Madibaz’s defence and ensured Nicole Smith was in the perfect position to bag goal number three: 5-3 for Witsies at the end of the third chukka.
The fourth chukka remained goalless until Vicky Jonker hammered the nail into the coffin by scoring her third goal of the game with thirty seconds left on the clock: 7-3 for Wits the final score.
Mugg & Bean Star Saver: Kerryn Frost (Madibaz) FNB Player of the match: Kelly Wrensch (Wits)
FIH confirms final line-ups for men’s Hockey World League Semi-Finals: Hockey World Cup Qualifiers will be held in London and Johannesburg
Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has confirmed the final line-ups for the men’s Hockey World League Semi-Finals following the conclusion of Round 2 and the subsequent update to the men’s FIH Hero World Rankings.
Between 15-25 June 2017, Lee Valley’s Hockey and Tennis Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England will welcome Canada, Malaysia, China and Scotland. They qualified from the Hockey World League Round 2 and join Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists Argentina, reigning European champions Netherlands, Asian champions India, Pakistan, Korea and hosts England, whose participation in this event was confirmed last October.
The other men’s Hockey World League Semi-Final will take place at Wits Hockey Club in Johannesburg, South Africa between 8-23 July. Joining this event from Round 2 are Ireland, Japan, France and Egypt. They will be up against reigning Hockey World Cup, World League and Champions Trophy winners Australia, Olympic silver medallists Belgium, Olympic bronze medallists Germany, New Zealand, Spain and hosts South Africa, winners of the 2015 African Hockey Championship.
The allocation of these latest men’s teams were determined by their position within the FIH Hero World Rankings which were updated following the conclusion of Round 2 this morning. This latest update eliminated points earned by nations during 2013 as well as reducing the number of points all nations earned between 2014 and 2016. Consequently, this has seen Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists Argentina become the world’s number one men’s hockey team, with Australia moving down into second position. For the updated men’s FIH Hero World Rankings, click here.
The top teams from London and Johannesburg will qualify for two of hockey’s showpiece events – the Odisha Men’s Hockey World League Final Bhubaneswar 2017 and the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, both in India. Depending on final standings, teams will also be awarded FIH Hero World Ranking points, which could prove crucial in relation to qualification for future events. With so much on the line, fans will no doubt witness some action-packed matches full of excitement and drama this summer.
FIH is now finalising the event schedules with partners and will announce shortly. The Hockey World League, composed of four rounds and played over two years, shines a spotlight on the sport around the world. Even the smallest hockey-playing nations have the opportunity to write their own chapter in hockey’s history books. London and Johannesburg provide the perfect stage for their dreams to become reality in what are two crucial events in hockey’s international calendar.
Dunga takes charge at Wits
- Tshepiso Mametela
The Wits Ladies Football team has received a welcome revamp following the appointment of former national women's team player, Nthabeleng "Dunga" Modiko as coach
Dunga, who played in the left-back position for Banyana Banyana, officially took up the reigns at Wits on 1 March. Known for her enterprising exploits in the middle field, Dunga crafted an offensive style of play which for opponents, was a proverbial thorn in the side. After receiving her first national team call-up in 2006, Dunga featured in 24 games for the national side before hanging up her boots following the conclusion to the 2011 All-Africa Games held in Mozambique.
On that occasion, with the able exploits of Modiko and a contingent of players comprised of Emily Mogatla, Chantelle Esau and Sibongiseni Khamlana, Banyana Banyana flew the South African flag at full-mast as they contested the 3rd and 4th play-offs. Despite a solid effort by Dunga and co, Banyana Banyana were, however, left to lick their wounds courtesy of a 2–0 loss to Algeria on the day.
Fast-forward six years, and the former captain of the Banyana team that placed 3rd in the 2010 Women's African Football Championship held in South Africa – is flourishing now more than ever. "In 2014, after coming second at the USSA National Championship with the UJ [women's football] team that I managed at the time, I decided to focus completely on my career [away from soccer]," said Modiko.
It is with this in mind that Dunga put her exploits on the field of play on hold to pursue a BComm Accounting degree; obtaining her qualification from the University of Free State in 2007. However, not one to rest on her laurels, Dunga has proven that with the right approach, one can enjoy success both academically and on the field of play. Equally passionate about developing others, the former player turned coach has her sights firmly set on marshalling the Wits Ladies.
"This opportunity [coaching Wits Ladies] couldn't have come at a better time because I've been thinking about putting into practice what I've learnt within the coaching courses that I've completed," said Modiko, who boasts a SAFA (South African Football Association) D License. Punting delight at her appointment, however, Modiko added, "Wits has the potential of being one of the powerhouses, however, it's still being regarded as an underdog, and I like that because that relates closely to how people view me as a coach [as] their yet [to unravel what it is that I have to offer]."
Modiko further added that she views her new role as somewhat of a 'safe playground' given the opportunity available to make a significant contribution. "I see it as a case of having nothing to lose but more to gain because there's experience there to counter on. And as a young coach, whatever comes my way is an experience as I look to impart with my experiences as a player with up and coming players," she ended.
Modiko’s appointment is the latest in Wits Sport’s continued efforts in building up an impressive array of accomplished coaching experts across several high-performance sporting codes including former national team hockey players Pietie-Coetzee and Ricky West; South African cricket hero, Garnett Kruger; former Lions rugby player and coach, Hugo van As; darling of South African football – having played for top-flight sides such as SuperSport United and Bidvest Wits, Mark Haskins as well as Joey Mongalo, who coached the SA U20 and Lions U19 rugby sides.
Wits Fencing at 2017 Free State Open
Five of Wits’ top fencers went down to Bloemfontein for the Free State Open and competed in both Epée and Foil.
The pool of competitors was large and our victories at this tournament positively affected our national rankings. Hard training before the tournament insured that the Witsies held their own against some of the top-ranked fencers in the country.
After the competition, the rankings of our fencers in South Africa as follows:
Andrea Cabanac: 11th in Senior Women’s Foil
11th in Senior Women’s Epée
Natalija Cerimaj: 22nd in Senior Women’s Foil
18th in Senior Women’s Epée
Tarryn Maggs: 15th in Senior Women’s Foil
27th in Senior Women’s Epée
Michael Gaynor: 16th in Senior Men’s Foil
37th in Senior Men’s Epée
All the fencers that went to Bloemfontein also participated in a Referee training course for Epée and wrote a theoretical and practical test. Congratulations must go to Michael Gaynor, who passed both tests and is now officially qualified as an Epée referee at a provincial level – making him the first Wits fencer to become a qualified referee.
FNB Wits finish season strong
Wits University finished their first season back in the Varsity Cup with a fifth place on the log after a memorable 35-23 victory over the Ikey Tigers
It is remarkable that the Witsies just finished out of semi-final contention ahead of last seasons champions, the NWU Pukke and they were probably the only team to keep the frontrunners, Tukkies and Maties in check.
Wits scored really quickly, when scrumhalf Ruan Cloete dived over from close range to give the home side an early lead. Captain Warren Gilbert stepped up and added the extra two with the boot.
The home supporters then didn’t have to wait too long for more points when speedster Kwanele Ngema picked up a pass from midfield to dash through a few UCT defenders to dot down for a converted nine-point try.
The second half saw the hosts come out looking a lot stronger and their efforts showed, when they scored two consecutive converted tries just after the second strategy break to take the score to 30-16.
Wits then added more pressure on the visitors when they added another try to their tally, as hooker CJ Conradie dotted down, but Gilbert unfortunately sent his conversion attempt wide.
The men from Cape Town, however, had the last say but unfortunately it was a little to late, when Joel Smith cut the deficit. The try was converted but shortly after the five-pointer, the final whistle went, which saw Wits secure another memorable victory.
FNB Player that Rocks: Kwanele Ngema (FNB Wits)
Wits: Tries: Ruan Cloete, Kwanele Ngema, Luvuyo Pupuma, CJ Greef, CJ Conradie. Conversions: Warren Gilbert (5)
Ikeys: Tries: Nyasha Tarusenga, Hendrik Lategan, Joel Smith. Conversions: Lohan Lubbe (3).
Welcome Chris Makaba
The changing of the guard is set to take effect at Wits Hockey as an incredible talent, junior national team player, Chris Makaba is welcomed to Wits.
The young hockey ace has barelled down the hockey straight; leading the Jeppe Boys 1st team Hockey side to tournament victory in the prestigious Aitken Tournament - an inter-schools tournament that features some of Johannesburg's leading schools - before captaining the SA under-18 schools side in an international match against Australia in Pretoria in November 2016.
He now savours taking on the challenge that comes with the territory of studying at Wits, having impressed with his incredible hockey repetoire. He says, "I decided to come to Wits because it is such a well known institution. It has an amazing pull-factor; not only in the way of getting a degree that is internationally recognised, but also because of the atmosphere that exists therein."
Chris's lifelong dream has been vested in the splendour of playing hockey as a professional, with the promise of proudly singing the South African national anthem each time he takes to the field of play a constant motivation.
The experience of donning the national kit has immeasuably bolstered Chris's love for the sport. "I was fortunate enough to have represented the side and I am very honored to have been part of the team that played against Australia in the three day series, that is one of my fondest memories and will cherries it for a very long time," says the promising talent.
An astounding addition to the athletes repetoire is his leadership capabilities, his self-drive and maturity. Attributes he feels will allow him to contribute to the continued success of Wits Hockey by, as he says "bringing whatever I can afford the team."
Working hard, being diligent and being open to new challenges are at the heart of his passion for achieving excellence as he looks to excel.
"I can be a positive influence and I can stay consistent which will aid me to play well; thus aiding the team because as a team player we feed off each others energy and if the team plays well all the players play well," he adds.
Chris caps off an amazing exchange by extending tips for academic and sporting success to his peers. He says, "the advice Iwould give students who struggle to balance both is that if you choose this lifestyle, it requires a person who is willing to sacrifice certain things in order to be successful in balancing both.
"You need to have a plan going forward - even drawing a timetable is advised about when you have practices and when your attention should be focused in academics. That way, with a plan you will be able to balance both by working hard and staying up to dater with your academics and sports."
Wits Hockey makes significant strides for the year ahead
As a pulsating 2016 academic year whittles down, the University of Wits has once again ensured that there is much cause for celebration going into the New Year.
The precursor for these celebrations comes with the appointment of a long-standing servant of the game of hockey in South Africa and the province of Gauteng at large, and is set to usher in an even more incredible year ahead for the institution. Tsoanelo Pholo is a proud Guateng-er, and one who is not shy to express love for the province from which she hails. She is the newest addition in what is an already accomplished and astute contingent of the Wits Sports Administration team.
Her perennial love affair with the hockey discipline began a tad over two decades back when, as she says, “I picked up my first hockey stick on the bumpy fields of Greenside High School [almost 22 years’ ago] and the Randburg Hockey Stadium soon became my favourite place.” Following 17 amazing seasons serving in the Premier League as a devastating frontliner, and a further 16 years’ playing in the Inter-provincial National Tournament (IPT) for Gauteng, she now turns her attention to taking charge of the best in the business.
The nifty hockey ace officially takes the reins as Coach of the 2nd Wits Ladies team in January 2017 and will be charged with continuing on the path of success that has, in recent times, become synonymous with the Wits sporting culture.“Tsoanelo was amongst many candidates’ who were interviewed for the role of Wits Ladies 2nd team Hockey Coach. She impressed the most! Her knowledge as a player and the fundamental insights gained in her role as Head Coach of the St. Stithians Girls’ College proved crucial,” said a buoyant Wits Hockey Manager Erika Venter. “And so, we hope to see Tsoanelo further her aspirations as a coach as she’s displayed a keen willingness to grow. She’ll have a good opportunity to prove her mettle alongside an incredible former player and Ladies 1st team Hockey Coach at Wits, Pietie-Coetzee”
Tsoanelo got a crack at the nod and as such, has taken the decision to “hang up her stick” at the end of the year. During the IPT in 2014, the incumbent coach suffered damage to her cartilage after tripping over a ball and had to undergo surgery. She however remained resolute and found a passion for teaching and coaching hockey. “Every journey is filled with its ups, downs, different routes and many forks in the road; mine has lead me to this point,” she iterated.
As a 2003 Abuja All Africa Games gold and 2005 Virginia Beach Champions Challenge silver winning medalist, Tsoanelo sees off the closing of the curtain to an illustrious career as a player and welcomes a new and more exciting chapter as a coach and looks to give back to the game she crossed paths with all those years’ ago.
For an outstanding contribution and a mercurial track record – as a player – the former hockey star will be sourly missed by the hockey fraternity. She represented the national side in a host of tournaments including the big stage, with her most recent appearance therein being at the 2007 edition of the Hockey World Cup played in Austria.
Wits Cricket - T20 Champions!
Wits Cricket on a high following momentous GCB T20 campaign.
Wits Cricket have ended a sensational sporting year for the university on a high after being crowned champions in the inaugural GCB T20 Competition this past Saturday.
The Wits 1st team IX boys’ coasted to championship success unbeaten in the round robin stage. Wits beat Old Eds in the earlier semi-final en route to ousting cross town rivals UJ Cricket Club by 41 runs in the final that was held at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
After losing the toss and being sent in to bat first in a game reduced to 18 overs a side due to rain, Wits were put under the pump early by a bowling masterclass led by UJ all-rounder Juan Landsberg. In the end, Wits only managed a modest total of 103 for 9. With the prospect of getting yet another one over their arch nemesis, UJ had it all to play for when they came in to bat; looking relaxed as they backed a strong batting line up.
However, as the conditions overhead changed so too did the atmosphere at the bull ring as UJ lost wickets at regular intervals. Wits skipper and Bizhub Highveld Lions player Nono Pongolo led the team with clever bowling changes and field placements. The pace pair of Brad Morrison and Gauteng under-19s player Bryce Cressy dismantled the UJ cause by taking 3 wickets a piece; resultantly blowing their neighbours away for 62 all out.
This was the first piece of silverware for Head Coach Garnett Kruger who took over the helm in September. At the time, the new coach had his sights set on ensuring that Wits Cricket becomes a force to be reckoned with. Following tournament success, Kruger basks in the glory of his success but asserts that no room should exist for complacency.
“It’s always nice being first in something and Wits are the first team to win The GCB T20 Competition. The mood is happy but I bet you they weren’t happy at the break being 103 for 9. Coaches always want to win and I’m happy for the win, but Wits Cricket still has a lot to do [moving forward]. It’s always nice being first in something and Wits are the first team to win The GCB T20 Competition. Our success in the tournament proves that we can [reach extreme heights] if we really want to,” he said.
Wits Rugby recruits 2017
The next generation of Lions stars have reported for duty at Wits University.
The team have had their first training session under the mentorship of former Transvaal centre and coach, Hugo van As.
The much anticipated arrival of the Cape Cobra from Paarl Boys High, Gianni Lombard, has happened and he, as well as Jeppe’s SA School’s centre Wandile Simelane and flyhalf Tyrone Green could be the X factor the Witsies hope for in the upcoming Varsity Cup.
The above trio as well as the Monument boys, SA Schools hooker PJ Botha and centre MJ Pelser and the Garsfontein trio of PJ Steenkamp, Shaun Williams and Lincoln Daniels reported for duty on Tuesday night.
Van As is also crossing his fingers that former Bokkie Hajcivah Dayimani would be released from the Lions to join his campaign. That could be the cherry on the top.
Apart from one or two of last year’s campaigners who will not qualify to play Varsity Cup rugby, the Witsies have kept the core of their squad.
They also have a new acquisition from the University of Johannesburg in scrumhalf Kallie Erasmus.
Lombard is an attacking exponent from Boys High while Simelane ply his trade in the midfield.
Green also has the X-factor at 10 while Pelser is a tough inside centre while Daniels is home at nine and on the wing.
PJ Steenkamp represented the Bokkies at lock but his natural progression could see him turn out a seven flanker.
The Witsies start their preparation with a friendly against neighbours, UJ on the 14th in January.
Wits University recorded a number of highs and lows in 2016; a particularly testing period for the institution at large.
Wits University recorded a number of highs and lows in 2016; a particularly testing period for the institution at large.
On the field of play, Wits created headway with a number of sensational sporting milestones – made even more remarkable by the commitment shown, all be it in the face of adversity, by the all sportsmen and women involved.
The highs continued to pay credence to the enormous and dynamic scope of the institution, while the lows were an ominous reminder of the brittle fractures prevalent in society today. Solidarity became the order of the day and proved to be an effective instrument toward the resolution of issues and the instigation of change.
It is this same principle of ‘togetherness’ that is founded in sport. Sport by its very nature is a radical tool for driving social activism and change. It is, however, not without concerted efforts and resolute focus that a number of these stellar achievements would’ve been possible.
The accolades raked up in 2016 are a tribute to all student athletes, without whose sacrifice would see the university propelled to such extreme heights. Wits University long became a cut above the rest, yet 2016 has become a stark reminder of a league the university finds itself in to which very few others can say the same.
As such, a number of magnificent highlights have been documented; all of which go a long way toward lifting Wits University to the pinnacle of both academic and sporting greatness:
GCB T20 Champions
Wits Cricket ended a sensational 2016 sporting year for the university on a high when they were crowned champions in the inaugural GCB T20 Competition in December. The Wits 1st team boys’ coasted to championship success unbeaten in the round robin stage; defeating Old Eds IX in the semi-final play-offs en route to ousting cross town rivals UJ Cricket Club by 41 runs in the final held at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium.
It was the first piece of silverware for Head Coach Garnett Kruger who took over the helm in September. At the time, the new coach had his sights set on ensuring that Wits Cricket becomes a force to be reckoned with in varsity club cricket.
USSA Institutional Basketball Champions
A brilliant showing saw the mighty Wits Bucks crowned 2016 USSA Basketball Champions in the annual inter-university winter tournament in July. Wits were superb and went relatively unchallenged in the campaign as they ousted 10-time champions Vaal University of Technology 68 – 58 on their way to clinching honours in the men’s A section.
The victory was a feather in the cap for the side – which had a bruising 2015 campaign in Fort Hare after suffering disqualification for a minor technical violation. This was the first ever national championship in the history of the university as far as the men's section is concerned.
Tang Soo Do Champions
October saw a 12 strong Tang Soo Do contingent from Wits compete in the 10th edition of the World Martial Arts Games hosted in Johannesburg. Competing across a number of category disciplines, the team of fighters managed a flurry of 36 medals, including an impressive haul of 10 gold; 10 silver and 16 bronze medals.
The Wits team had previous representation in the Tang Soo Do World Championships held in Las Vegas in 2015, the 2014 edition in Canada and the Netherlands leg of the same tournament in 2013.
FNB Varsity Shield Champions
Wits Rugby returned to championship winning ways when they stormed to victory in the final of the 2016 FNB Varsity Shield; trouncing the University of Western Cape (UWC) 39 – 2 in the final en route to lifting what was their second title in the history of the competition.
As a result of their stupendous run in the Varsity Shield, the Wits 1st team Rugby team earned nomination for the Gauteng Sports Awards in the category of Sports Team of The Year but eventually missed out when the prized accolade instead found its way to the trophy cabinet of domestic rugby side the Xerox Golden Lions.
Rowing Ladies Fours - USSA Champions
The Wits Boat Club capped a very good season by winning the Ladies Fours at the Annual USSA Rowing event. Their success in this event did not stop there as one of the ladies in the Wits boat, Jade Crooks, also got selected for the USSA crew that won the 2016 National title in the Ladies Fours.
Assupol Rugby Club Tournament Champions
Wits took charge and blitzed their way to championship success in the 9th edition of the under-20 Assupol Rugby Club Tournament in March. The tournament – a corporate rugby development initiative sponsored by Assupol – saw a total of 18 clubs, with 72 teams and 1 584 players travelling approximately 28 000 km to play against each other.
Premier League Waterpolo Champions
The Wits Ladies were impressive in their exploits toward being crowned Champions in the Ladies Premier League Waterpolo Championships in 2016. The Wits Ladies have maintained their good form and currently lead the way atop the Premier League standings; with six wins in as many games so far this season.
Other Notable Performances:-
It took a penalty shoot-out to decide matters in what would’ve been an incredible showing by Wits to burst into the men’s semi- finals of Varsity Hockey 2016. It was however not to be as perennial sports rivals University of Johannesburg (UJ) overcame a remarkable period of scoring by Wits.
UJ looked in danger of conceding their title when Wits went 4 – 0 up in a burst of scoring from the 26th to the 34th minute, but the champions showed their mettle by fighting back in dramatic fashion to level at 4 – 4 in the remaining 26 minutes. Then, with goalkeeper Matthew Martins holding his nerve, UJ showed composure to win the penalty shootout 3 – 1.
This only seemed to warm up the Wits Hockey 1st teams with both the Men and Women finishing 4th in the Southern Gauteng Premier League earning them a spot in the Sheila Brown Cup which is a knockout competition between the Top 4 teams in the premier league annually. The Men managed to get sweet revenge against neighbours UJ knocking them out in the semi’s to make the 2016 final.
The Waterpolo arena proved to be the perfect hunting ground for the enormous talent pool that exists at Wits. The young prodigy Emma Hardham – who boasts a stellar track record of representation in the senior national women’s team and boasts an EU 8 Nationals World Water Polo Championship medal amongst others – created more waves after being nominated for the Most Promising Player of the Year award at the Gauteng Sports Awards.
The other nominee was Waterpolo coach Kelsey White – nominated in the Coach of the Year category – and is a member of the national SA Women’s Water Polo team; captain of the SA Women’s Water Polo team and EU Nations Cup Winner 2015 & 2016 amongst others. She has coached teams in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia and is part of the Old Mutual Development Swimming Programme to add to a long list of professional milestones.
The Wits Lady Bucks were finalist in all three competitions they participated in, in 2016. USSA, ICSL and GUBL. Although they silverware were brought home, it was an unreal year for one of the best teams in the country.
Head of Football
Former professional football player Mark Haskins was appointed as the new Head of Football at Wits Sport in March. The former midfield ace – who enjoyed a stellar 12 year run in top flight football including a three year stint with The Clever Boys’, at the time expressed great delight at his appointment.
Haskins graces the television screen on ETV’s breakfast show, Sunrise as Co-anchor and Sports Presenter, is a renowned football subject matter expert who, during the FIFA World Cup in 2010 provided crucial analysis and expert opinion on matches.
Haskins has also assumed the mantle as the Head Coach of the Wits 1st team Football side owing to his profound knowledge of the game and previous coaching experience gained whilst studying abroad.
Head of Cricket
Former South African cricket player Garnett Kruger was appointed as Head Coach of Wits Cricket in September. Kruger, who represented South Africa in both ODI and T20 internationals, proved a formidable strike force – bagging a career haul of 450 wickets in 137 first-class games and another 195 sticks in 145 List A outings.
Kruger has brought all of his experience and understanding of the game to the fore by inspiring the Wits 1st team IX to championship success in the inaugural Gauteng Cricket Board T20 Competition in December – and this, only three short months into the job.
Former FNB Wits player turned medical Doctor relishes ‘comeback’ in 2017 Varsity Cup
- FNB VARSITY CUP PRESENTED BY STEINHOFF INTERNATIONAL NEWS, WITS , by Luke Thorrold
FNB Wits are back in contention in the big time after thrilling in last year’s FNB Varsity Shield.
FNB Wits are back in contention in the big time after thrilling in last year’s FNB Varsity Shield presented by Steinhoff International competition with one former Witsie in particular, buoyant ahead of making a return when the annual inter-varsity rugby showpiece event kicks-off on Monday, January 30.
Having already etched his name in the annals of the Varsity Cup, Charles Baggot is no stranger to the exhilaration that comes with running out to represent a proud FNB Wits side.
Baggot played for FNB Wits in the 2011 and 2012 Varsity Shield competitions; and followed that up by donning the captain’s armband when FNB Wits contested the 2013 Varsity Cup tournament. And although the university endured a dismal campaign, Charles led the team with both unrelenting grit and determination.
He now makes a timely return to the set-up since that bruising 2013 showing as FNB Wits once again prepare to do battle – although this time, in the all-important role of Team Doctor.
“Very surreal to [once again] be part of the team, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do once my playing days were over,” he says. “I’m passionate about the club and it seemed like the obvious choice to get back into the club scene once I finished my community service year.”
The Wits Fitness and Wellness Centre at Wits' West Campus in Braamfontein prepares to open its doors ahead of the highly anticipated start to the year.
Members will have access to all the offerings provided in this facility. Early morning slots will be available to any high performance individual under the supervision of a conditioning coach to ensure optimal and periodized training. With the advent of the high performance world of Varsity Sport, Wits Sport believes through the establishment of this tier they are able to provide an enabling environment that allows our student-athletes to compete and not only participate at the highest level of student sport.
Revival works at the Squash Complex began in August 2016; resultantly transforming it into a breath-taking, neo-modern fitness hub that caters for anything from the finesse of the scholarly to the craze of the fitness maniac. The gym is set to open for business on Monday, 16 January 2017, with an official opening expected to be held in mid February 2017.
The impressive 2000m2, multi-faceted gym facility will comprise of a fully functional cardio training section, a comprehensive circuit training area as well as a weight training and functional zone for modulated resistance and body training.
The world-class facility will not be without an aerobics studio; which promises a fully functional fitness and training regime in the form of an A to Z exercise program, while endurance enthusiasts can look forward to the availability of 20 spinning bikes as part of a comprehensive spinning offering at the gym.
A scintillating array of state-of-the-art TechnoGym equipment will be available and will comprise treadmills; up-right bikes; watt bikes; rowers and free weight and kinesis equipment amongst a whole host of equipment and machinery.
Besides the free-flowing, fully functional and easily accessible work-out area, students, staff and alumni of the university will also have access to luxury change-room facilities which will comprise seven showers each and include generic change-room features such as mirrors and toilets.
A fantastic additional extra – besides just the music on offer – is the availability of eight flat screen TV’s, which means that gym lovers can catch-up on news and sporting events of interest whilst enjoying a fantastic work-out session.
The Fitness and Wellness Centre will be available to students at R2000pa.- R166 per month, and once fully operational, the gym will constitute a staff contingent of 12 super active and hands-on fitness coaches, personal trainers as well as sales staff. Standard operating times have been set as Monday to Friday 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday to Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In line with providing services for the Competitive sporting tier, the Old Mutual Sports and the WEC gym’s will be offered to the value of R800-00pa.(R66 per month). This offer includes gym usage at the Old Mutual gym, the WEC gym and aerobics. Aerobics in this offering will be offered at WEC only due to the loss of Hall 29 facilities.
Finally, Wits Sport together with Campus and Residence Life are investigating and in the process of finalising two outdoor recreational gym stations which would be positioned on the East campus and WEC respectively for those students and staff who seek to enjoy and participate in the recreational space. This offering provides a unique social opportunity which as yet has not been experienced from an outdoor perspective and would come at no charge to the student and or staff cohort.
Miss Varsity Cup 2017
Entries are now open for the 2017 Miss Varsity Cup competition.
If you want to be the face of Wits University during the 2017 Varsity Cup and repersent us on a national and possible international level. Take a chance! Enter the 2017 Wits Miss Varsity Cup competition. Complete the application form below and mail to email@example.com
Wits University bagged their second title of the season by white washing the University of the Western Cape 77-0 on the third day of the USSA championships.
Wits University bagged their second title of the season by white washing the University of the Western Cape 77-0 on the third day of the Ussa championships in East London.
The Witsies scored eleven goals with flyhalf Warren Gilbert converting every try.Fullback Lux Ntsepe and lock Mitchell Fraser each scored a brace with seven other players chipping in with one try each.Coach Hugo van As was a chuffed man, describing it as a complete performance with the pack once again outstanding.
Wits will compete with the big guns in next year’s competition and would have fancied their chances against some of the bigger rugby universities in Buffalo City. Hooker CJ Conradie was named Player of the Tournament in the B-section.
Wits bag historic first-ever victory in Varsity Cup
Wits beat FNB CUT, 43 - 3
After being served up raw in the first two games of this years' Varsity Cup, a measured approach by FNB Wits meant that an enthralling game of rugby was the on the menu at the Wits Rugby Stadium on Monday evening.
Lady Luck finally made an appearance and an inspired Wits outfit put on their best showing to obliterate their opponents on the day, FNB CUT 43 - 3 in front of a tumultuous home crowd.
The hosts controlled matters ably and unveiled a vast array of skills to overturn possession at will, yet the visitor's would not be spared and found themselves at the receiving end of perilous invasions by Wits.
The home side unleashed a seemingly carnage-riddled brand of rugby and by the end of proceedings, were left more hungry than not as they felt that a key ingredient is still amiss with Wits head coach, Hugo van As expressing some solemn sentiments.
"Obviously we were disappointed with our first two results and we really felt that we could've pulled one off at least. Internally the camp really wanted to do well tonight and the scary thing is that it's 43 - 3 and the boys' are still not happy [as] we made a lot of mistakes and again lost opportunities the same as in the first and the second games." He said.
The coach added that the team would need to be sharper in order to start competing against the big teams in Tuks and Pukke, which is next on the menu for the boys' in blue. In light of this fact, he said, "The longer time the team spends together, the better they will be. We just need to cut down on the silly errors because in the first half I felt we had three or four opportunities and so it's basically back to hard work. We're only in round three of an eight week competition and because the team sets high standards we going to have to [get better]."
Wits and Golden Lions lock, Rhyno Herbst, who raked up the prized Player that Rocks award felt equally agreeable to the sentiments expressed by his coach. "I think it's come two or three years' that we've played together as a team and it's paid off but we still have a lot of areas to work on still but will take the first win at home."
He added, "This [victory] will set the base for what's coming. This is not our best yet, we’re going to strive to improve even more and put in even bigger performances to come." Wits next play Tuks at the Tuks Stadium in Pretoria on Monday, 27 February.
New Head of Football at Wits FC
Former professional football player and TV presenter Mark Haskins has been appointed as the new Head of Football at Wits University.
A darling of South African football – Maskins Haskins; who in his time as a professional footballer was impactful, raking up prized club silverware in the process – has been appointed as the new Head of Football at Wits Sport. He last made an appearance in professional football in 2013, in a Nedbank Cup final berth for SuperSport United; ironically, the game was against Kaizer Chiefs.
The 34 year old incumbent and former midfield ace – who enjoyed a stellar 12 year run in top flight football including a 3 year stint with The Clever Boys’, has expressed great delight at his latest feat. “It’s a great opportunity for me. I don’t take it lightly. “I thank God, as I see this as a favour upon me. It’s definitely something to look forward to as I love football with everything that I have in me”, said the former Bidvest Wits player.
Haskins, who graces the television screen on ETV’s breakfast show, Sunrise as Co-anchor and Sports Presenter, is a renowned football subject matter expert who, during the FIFA World Cup in 2010 provided crucial analysis and expert opinion on matches. He boasts an excellent previous coaching track record to which his sound leadership capabilities can be attributed.
“I’ve always been a leader”, says Haskins. “In every club I played for I had involvement in leading. I also took on a few coaching stints starting when I was pursuing my studies in the States”. Harbouring an immense passion for empowering youth, as is testament by a training group Haskins established in 2013 wherein, amongst other things, he looks to nurture young talent looking to break into the soccer fraternity. In his new role, Haskins looks to play a pivotal role in “moulding and shaping the lives of the students” as he has an acute understanding of varsity sports and the dynamics thereof.
He also understands the need for quality education in a country riddled with many socio-political issues. “In an ideal society, education should be free. It should be a right and not a prerogative. As yet, the notion of free education is not a reality but is surely something that can be worked towards”.
Wits host Central Gauteng Women in Sport mini dialogue
- Tshepiso Mametela
A sports dialogue geared at finding solutions to the lack of active female sports participation took centre stage at Wits University
A sports dialogue geared at finding solutions to the lack of active female sports participation took centre stage as Wits welcomed close to 100 participants for the Central Gauteng Women in Sport dialogue.
BRAAMFONTEIN – In an effort to promote a non-sexist sporting community, the Wits Conference Centre in Braamfontein was the scene for a marauding Central Gauteng Women in Sport mini dialogue on 23 June. The engagements served to highlight the importance of female participation in sport, while seeking to ensure that an equilibrium is struck with their male counterparts.
Headlining the event was media specialist Kass Naidoo, who discussed vital leadership points. Naidoo said the journey through life can be long and arduous as a result of a number of personal barriers. “Individual transformation is a requirement in order for personal barriers to be overcome,” she said. “Good leaders don’t just rush up the hill, they also know when to take a step back, re-evaluate, do some introspection and redirect if need be.”
Naidoo, who, at the age of 27 became the first female television cricket commentator in South Africa, emphasized that aspiring and active female athletes ought to be comfortable with discomfort. “You need to tackle discomfort by being comfortable with it. I’m not here to tell you what your barriers are, but rather to tell you that you should ‘smash’ them.”
Other speakers included Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation representatives Mpumi Yingwane and Nonhlanhla Maboa, Wits Basketball player Rudo Kaseke and eNCA Journalist and para-athlete Palesa Manaleng. Yingwane spoke about the importance of actively engaging with other women across different spheres of the sporting world, adding that a like-minded approach is pivotal towards leveraging active and successful female sports participation.
Meanwhile, Kaseke highlighted barriers that hinder active female sporting participation. “There should be equal incentives at various levels, equal media coverage, better sport education and exposure in more culturally driven areas,” she said, offering suggestions on the issue.
In closing, Maboa said, “As women, we need to stop pulling each other down and pull each other up. As leaders, we must have a vision. Sport [offers a range of opportunities] and can be turned into a business. Whether it’s a sport academy or running a magazine.”
Wits ladies bag first victory of Ussa Football campaign
- Tshepiso Mametela
Wits Ladies managed a strong comeback after stumbling at the first hurdle in USSA Football 2017.
AUCKLAND PARK – After losing their first two opening fixtures of USSA Football 2017, the Wits Ladies orchestrated a phenomenal comeback at the UJ Football Fields at Bunting Stadium to beat an underpowered NW Potch side 2 – 0 on Day 2.
The first half offered little in the way of goalmouth action as the two sides traded passes. Wits sought to change that and shifted into gear with half time looming. The team pushed forward in search of a goal but were denied a few times by the Potch shot-stopper. NWU Potch kept up the resistance and the match heading into the break goalless.
The persistence by Wits, however, paid off soon after the resumption when Cyrelene Mncube got the ball to deflect off a Potch defender and into the back of the net; the ensuing goal sending a wave of celebrations through the Wits bench. Wits continued to up the ante and came close to extending the lead a few times.
The second goal came courtesy of Puleng “Mshini” Mofokeng, who got at the end of a sublime pass before running down the middle with only the goal at her mercy. Mofokeng kept her composure and breezed past the Potch keeper to slot the ball home. Wits regrouped and held on for a much-needed win before heading into their match against WSU on Day 3 feeling confident.
“After the preparations [that we’ve had] and having to lose two games in a row, it didn’t go down well with the team,” said Wits Ladies head coach Nthabeleng ‘Dunga’ Modiko. “The girls were upbeat. Our biggest motivation was playing our first game against a strong Tuks side and losing by a single goal.”
Dunga, who took over the reigns in March, added that inspiring a winning mentality in the team was a key ingredient in order to move the team forward. “I always encourage the girls to believe that they are winners…I think that’s the mentality that we take onto to the pitch each time,” said Modiko. “Although everybody looks at us as the weeping girl, I think we’ve shocked a lot of institutions by how we’ve played so far.”
Modiko, however, admitted the next few games would be crucial. “We need to start preparing for the play-offs in order for us to make it to the Sasol League,” she said. “Every game is a challenge and we need to employ different strategies for each team. But Wits is certainly the team to watch.”
Dramatic Day 2 for Wits in USSA men’s football
- Tshepiso Mametela
Wits men will be itching to get over the line in the USSA Football 2017 group stages when they take on TUT at Mark’s Park on Day 3 .
MARK’S PARK – Wits have it all to do in the men’s USSA football A section following a disappointing outing on Day 2. The hosts were edged out in both games of a dramatic event held at Mark’s Park on 4 July.
“The way the results have gone, we’re still not out of it, so we have to put in a really big performance tomorrow in our final group game,” said Wits FC head coach Mark Haskins. “We’ve really left ourselves with a lot of work to do, but again, if we want to compete at this level and want to be among the best teams, we’re going to have to beat the best teams.”
Wits, who ran riot on Day 1 of the tournament after putting three unanswered goals past Eastern Cape champions WSU, lost their way in the first of two matches on Day 2 – trailing UniZulu 1–0 before restoring parity and subsequently conceding a second goal to lose the match 2–1.
After putting that result behind them, Haskins’ troops took on Varsity Football 2016 semi-finalists CUT and came out firing in a physical second game. The visitor’s had the first and only bite at the cherry, however, as CUT attacking mid-fielder Keitumetse Mabotoane pounced on a low cross into the Wits 18 yard and putting it away for an eventual 1–0 victory.
“We going to have to dig deep and once we get out of the group it’s anybody’s game,” said Haskins, ahead of the team’s next game. “It’s literally just about getting into the quarter finals and once there, anything can happen.”
Wits will take on reigning Varsity Football champions, Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in their last group stage game on Day 3.
Wits move, shake and stumble in USSA on Day 3
Wits endured a day of mixed fortunes on moving Day of USSA 2017, where some impressive results were embraced and others not so impressive recorded
JOBURG – Day 3 of USSA offered a panoply of nail-biting sporting action as Wits contested crucial moving day fixtures in the sports hall and on the rugby and soccer fields on 5 July.
While the chess event saw no action recorded in 2015 and 2016 due to fees must fall, this year’s event had 2014 runners-up, Wits, making headway on Day 3 of the competition at the Old Mutual Sports Hall, with four rounds to play.
“All the institutions are putting in their final preparations and trying to score as many points as possible,” said USSA chess tournament secretary Divesh Sookdeo during Day 3 action. “At last count, 22 institutions comprised of about 300 players – which is quite a large number – were participating.”
Meanwhile, in the men’s football A section at Mark’s Park, Wits took on reigning Varsity Football champions TUT in a crucial last group stage game and were on the mark early, however, missed out on a number of chances in front of goal. However, with a spot in the quarter-finals and Varsity Football 2018 at stake, Wits striker Luke Perreira calmly converted from the penalty spot in the 60th minute.
Wits managed to hold onto that lead; incidentally pulling off an upset of note to secure a quarter-final berth in the process. “Coming into this game, there was a lot of mental preparation more than anything else. We played to our strengths today and that got us through,” said Wits men’s assistant coach Alzavian van Rheede.
In the women’s football A section, Wits women’s head coach Nthabeleng “Dunga” Modiko said the current log standings were not favourable despite a 2 – 0 win over WSU at UJ on Day 3. As a result, Wits will be in a contest for a best possible placing of 9th position in the 9th to 12th position play-offs.
The attention then shifted to the men’s rugby A section semi-finals where Wits were hoping to make a final for the first time. The game started badly for the Witsies with stalwart Conor Brockschmidt receiving a somewhat controversial red card within the first 15 minutes of the encounter. The controversy didn’t stop there as the Witsies celebrated a “trie” by Luvuyo Papuma right at the end to win the game but the match official very sadly decided the ball was lost forward. As a result, after 80 minutes of pulsating rugby, Wits stumbled to a 19 – 13 defeat against a spirited NWU Pukke side.
“The guys showed a lot of guts and character to hang in there to almost win the game,” said Wits rugby head coach Hugo van As. “We desperately wanted to get to the final which would’ve been an amazing achievement.” Despite the result, Wits will beam with pride having secured their best ever finish in the A section of the USSA rugby event.
In Stellenbosch the Wits Basketball teams continued their domination of student Basketball with both the male and female teams reaching the semi-finals of this year’s USSA event. The men defeating NMMU 67 – 53 in the quarter finals and the ladies putting neighbours UJ away 47 – 26.
Wits dominate USSA Basketball 2017
- Tshepiso Mametela
The Horny Bucks and Lady Bucks powered to victory in both the men’s and women’s basketball finals held at Stellenbosch University
BRAAMFONTEIN – Congratulations are in order for Wits Basketball as both the men's and women's teams put in dominant performances to be crowned champions in the USSA event held at Stellenbosch University from 3 to 7 July.
After going unbeaten in the five games played to the final, the Horny Bucks made light work of UKZN by casting them aside 63–53 in the final; retaining the title won last year, in the process. The Lady Bucks, maintained an equally impressive streak to get one over last year's winners, VUT in a repeat final. The side put in an inspired performance to beat the defending champions 52–42.
"I owe this year's success to the hard work that all the players put in," said Lady Buck's coach Willie Matlakala. "From the beginning of the year, players were committed and knew what they wanted to achieve. Having learnt the lesson of losing a final last year, we went into the game confident that were going to breeze through this time around."
The Lady Bucks have now won two in four finals in consecutive appearances following their success of 2014. Wits Ladies point guards Modiegi Mokoka and Fortunate Bosega received due recognition for their astounding performances during the week long tournament.
Bosega earned the nod for the coveted Most Valuable Player award while Mokoka was selected for the USSA women's basketball All Star team. Meanwhile, the USSA men's All Star team were graced with the names of Wits men's point guard Angelo Quinn and power forward Miguel Ferrão.
"The men's side had a very strong team. The stats and the qualifiers definitely meant that they were going to defend the championship," said Wits basketball sports Officer Ntshembo Vukeya. "The players did great with all the players getting a chance to shine."
Head of Sport at Wits Sport Adrian Carter added that the achievements recorded by Wits Basketball would be remembered for a long time. "A special week of USSA tournaments came to an end with many highlights. History was made by our Witsie basketball men and women who are national champions," said Carter. "This was [definitely] the stand out performance of the USSA week, and so rest assured that these achievements will be celebrated for a long time"
Wits Fencing shines at KZN National Championship
This past weekend, the 8th and 9th of July; the Wits Fencing Club attended the Senior National
Championship in Kwazulu-Natal.
The tournament was notable for the high quality of the competition, all events being contested fiercely.
That said, Wits fencers performed most admirably with nearly all Wits fencers managing to improve their national ranking in both Foil and Epee. Worthy of special merit and recognition are:
Jeremy Saner who secured yet another victory in the senior men’s sabre event;
Natalja Cerimaj, who was able to secure a bronze in the women’s senior foil, her first ever medal and at a national tournament none the less;
Captain, Andrea Cabanac, represented Gauteng in the Women’s Epee team event and helped push the team to a bronze medal.
New National Rankings:
Andrea Cabanac: 6th in Foil 11th in Epee, up from 13th Natalja Cerimaj: 7th in Foil, Up from 16th 15th in Epee, up from 19th Tarryn Maggs: 10th in Foil 22nd in Epee Vera-Jean Fourie: 9th in Foil 23rd in Epee Daniel Chen: 11th in Foil, up from 28th 50th in Epee, up from 60th Michael Gaynor: 16th in Foil 32nd in Epee Dwight Snyman: 17th in Foil, Up from 31st 53rd in Epee, Up from 62nd Jeremy Saner: 2nd in Sabre 37th in Epee
Results continue to improve and goals for the club can now be set even higher. Well done to all the Fencers! Tournaments still to come this year are the 2nd Western Cape open, as well as the Gauteng National open.
Wits cap off USSA in superb fashion
- Tshepiso Mametela
Wits recorded a flurry of amazing results as titles were defended and best placed finishes recorded in USSA 2017.
BRAAMFONTEIN – A scintillating exhibition of spirited performances and fierce competition capped off an exciting campaign for Wits as the curtain on the 2017 USSA tournament fell on 7 July.
Wits took up hosting duties and welcomed rugby, hockey, chess and gymnastics to the institution as new champions beckoned. In a sheer display of dominance, Wits were crowned double USSA basketball champions, with Wits men beating UKZN 63–53 in the final, while the women ousted 2016 winners VUT 52–42.
On the Wits Hockey Astro, both the men's and women's hockey sides blasted into the USSA hockey semi-finals for the first time in the institution's history. As a result, Wits have made the semi-finals seven times eight hockey events in the last two years, including Varsity Hockey 2016, Varsity Hockey 2017, USSA 2016 and 2017 as well as the Southern Gauteng [men's and women's] League in 2016.
The rugby men emulated that feat to come within inches of securing a final berth for the first time in their history in the USSA men's rugby A section. The team, however, stumbled to a 19–13 defeat against NWU Pukke, despite humbling defending USSA champions and current Varsity Cup holders UP Tuks 32–27 in their first outing.
A valiant attempt on the soccer field meant that Wits finished 8th in the USSA men's A section – to qualify for Varsity Football 2018, in the process beating 2016 Varsity Football and 2017 USSA champion TUT. Having not qualified for the USSA event in 2016 the women's side made a welcome return and managed a 10th place finish – a massive improvement under new coach Nthabeleng "Dunga" Modiko.
The USSA chess front saw the Wits men's team claim gold, with the women's team falling just short of a podium finish in 4th. Consolation for the institution was a 3rd place finish overall to go along with a 4th place finish in the gymnastics arena.
At the conclusion of the USSA events, Head of Sport at Wits Sport Adrian Carter said the achievements recorded by the institution would be remembered for a long time. “A special week of USSA tournaments came to an end with many highlights. History was made by our Witsie basketball men and women who are national champions," said Carter. “This was [definitely] the stand out performance of the USSA week, and so rest assured that these achievements will be celebrated for a long time. Hockey - both our teams made semi finals of the A Section, with men safely securing Varsity Hockey Qualification in 2018. Football - men qualified both for quarter finals coming out of a brutal pool and for Varsity Football in 2018. Our rugby lads made history by beating Tuks for the first time since 1969 and made semis. Some solid performances by our golfers, netballers, table tennis players and chess players. Very grateful to all staff, world class coaches, phenomenal students and incredibly supportive parents. A special Wits Sport Culture well and truly enabled such wonderful performances. My sincere thanks to all concerned as we look to improve on our performances”
FNB Wits Rugby beat log-leaders Raiders
Wits University beat the top open club in the Golden Lions’ league, Raiders 30-20, at the University Stadium on Tuesday night.
The victory put Wits squarely back in the race for a place in the Pirates Grand Challenge semi-finals.
The Witsies played the perfect tactical game with captain and flyhalf Warren Gilbert playing the role of the general with three early penalties.
The penalty count was too high for Raider’s liking and Gilbert scored 15 points to the seven by his direct opponent Arno Coetzee.
Wits’ foundation was laid in the set-pieces while Conor Brockschmidt and Constant Beckerling won the battle at the breakdowns.
Wits: Tries: CJ Conradie, AJ van Blerk, Taine Chabant. Conversions: Warren Gilbert (3). Penalties: Gilbert (3).
Raiders: Tries: Itu Mpete, Luzuko Panya, Harold Primo. Conversions: Arno Coetzee. Penalty: Coetzee
Three Wits Frisbee players to represent SA Down Under
- Tshepiso Mametela
Three Wits players have made the 26-person South Africa squad that will contest the fourth Ultimate Frisbee championships to be held in Australia in 2018.
BRAAMFONTEIN – Three Wits Ultimate Frisbee players have made the South Africa squad that will do battle at the 2018 World U24 Ultimate Championships in Perth, Australia from 7 to 13 January 2018.
“Selection into the team has been a long and arduous journey, with the first set of trials being held in Johannesburg in December [last year] and another in Cape Town a month later,” said Wits star player and 3rd year BComm student Paul Nussey, who was chosen as one of three captains for the SA team.
The team – affectionately known as ‘The Wild Dogs’ – will go toe to toe with some of the best young athletes the sport has to offer, which according to Nussey, will be an interesting challenge given the team’s sublime exploits at the 2015 championships held in England.
“The last Wild Dogs team delivered far above expectations. The team was seeded 12th at the U23 tournament, and eventually finished 6th; beating international Ultimate Frisbee powerhouse Japan, in the process,” said Nussey.
“The selection of the three Witsies is testament to the hard work and effort that has gone into the Wits Ultimate Frisbee Club over the past two or three years. This is highlighted by the fact that the number of national players produced by Wits has grown from one to three since the last tournament.”
Merete Goosen, 1st year BSc student and Rubina Valodia, 3rd year Medicine student and current chairperson of the Wits Sports Council, are the other players to have received the nod.
“The international experience and exposure that we stand to bring back to the Wits Ultimate Frisbee Club will only serve to improve the club and supplement its current upward trajectory. The hard work has only just begun, but rest assured that we are going to make Wits proud!” said Nussey in conclusion.
Wits hoping to impress in Varsity Football 2017
- Tshepiso Mametela
Wits are braced for the 2017 Varsity Football event after enduring a lackluster campaign at last year’s tournament.
BRAAMFONTEIN – Wits will be hoping to make up for their blushes after missing the bus at last year’s Varsity Football tournament, when the 2017 edition of the inter-varsity crown jewel event kicks-off on 27 July.
Wits finished joint-bottom along-side UFH with four points from seven games – a blemish which football sports officer at Wits, Montsho Matlala, said the team would look to avoid this year. The team’s opening assignments will be away to UWC and NWU on 23 July and 3 August, respectively, before returning home for a bout with CUT on 10 August.
The team will enjoy another home date with cross-town rivals and 2016 losing finalists, UJ on 17 August, before faring away for a tough encounter against former Varsity Football champions, UP Tuks for a fifth round tie on 24 August. Round six will see the team tackle current USSA men’s A section champions TUT in a tough home encounter on 4 September, before concluding matters against UFH at the Wits Stadium on 7 September.
“Looking at the tournament this year, the first objective is not to finish last,” said Matlala, who heads out with the South African team for the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade on 13 August. “The most important games will be the first three games before we lose four players and myself to represent the national team at the world student games.”
Gift Baloyi, Tshirelesto Motsogi, Mahle Mtabane and Kaizer Mopanga will all don national team colours before returning for the last two Varsity Football group stage encounters. “The objective will be to get nine points from the first three games so that when we do leave, the team have a good base from which to work,” added Matlala.
“The games against UJ and Tuks are big games, but we feel like the team should be able to handle those two games [especially] Tuks, who will be losing six players to the national team.
“However, we don’t want to look too far ahead by focusing on the semi-finals or the final when we can’t even win the group matches. It’s not easy being Wits Football; being the underdogs, but then again, we were the underdogs at USSA but managed to beat the eventual champions, TUT [in a group match].”
Wits stick with core for the new season
- Sifiso Nyawo
Wits University will be looking for a great start in the 2017 Varsity Football tournament when they travel down to the Western Cape, to entertain Cape side UWC
This season, the Wits squad have stuck with quite a bulk of last year’s members who played in the tournament that saw them finish seventh overall after a trying season.
A few changes have occurred, however, with a whole new technical team being brought in to swing things a different way this season. The Wits team will still be led out by Kaizer Maphanga, who will also marshal the team’s defence and lead from the back. The technical team will be led by former Bidvest Wits and Moroka Swallows player Mark Haskins, who will bring an interesting way forward for the side, of course bringing forth a whole lot of his professional experience.
Varsity Sports caught up with captain Maphanga ahead of this to find out a bit more on how the side have gone about preparing for their season and their readiness.
“The preparations have gone very well,” said the skipper. “The morale of the team is very high. The USSA championship tournament gave us a boost in making sure that we are prepared for the Varsity Football tournament. We ended number one in the so called ‘group of death’ and qualified for next year’s Varsity Football tournament. We are ready!”
On the changes to the team, Maphanga went on to add that they have added three players to the squad and he reinforced that his new troops were ready and knew what was expected of them.
As for their goals for the 2017 season, they are crystal clear.
“The ultimate goal is to win Varsity Football. We want to make history at Wits, we want to be the first team to win Varsity Football. Firstly, to win Varsity Football, we have to be disciplined and win all the matches prior to the semis.”
The Wits team have looked rather exciting in training, with a few of the seniors still looking energetic with a will to win. Before concluding the brief interview, Maphanga gave us a few names of the players the public should look out for in the tournament.
“Ha ha, you want me to choose now? Watch out for no.10, Mahle ‘Jomo’ Mtabane, no.15 Saluleko ‘Cash and Carry’ Mathonsi, no.12 Phuthi ‘Tendai Ndoro’ Leboho, Tristan ‘Yeye’ Gatter, no.4 Junior ‘ Xhi the Khoi San’ Moyakhe… eish mfwethu watch out for Wits. The whole squad for me is to be looked at. No player is average.”
Make sure you catch this exciting Wits team, when they lock horns with UWC in the Western Cape on Thursday evening, with more action also coming your way on SuperSport.
Wits Mark’s Park readies for Engen Knockout Challenge 2017
- Tshepiso Mametela
Wits Mark’s Park has proven to be the perennial hosts for the Johannesburg leg of the Engen knockout Challenge.
PARKTOWN – The groups for the eagerly anticipated fifth and final stop of the Engen Knockout Challenge 2017 tournament was decided at a draw at the Sunnyside Park Hotel in Parktown on 25 July.
Sixteen youth development soccer teams are braced for battle in the five-city tournament that comes to a climax in Johannesburg from 4 to 6 August. The Wits Mark's Park in Emmarentia will host the Joburg event for a twelfth year, with the highly billed leg, however, being preceded by the Bloemfontein event which takes place from 28 to 30 July at the Grey College Sports Complex.
This year’s edition of the preeminent youth football event was kick started in Cape Town from 30 June to 2 July, subsequently heading to Port Elizabeth between 7 to 9 July, before culminating in the Durban leg of the competition from 14 to 16 July. With the attention now firmly on Johannesburg, the draw saw three-time losing finalists Wits Juniors pitted in Group 1 alongside Southern LFA, Bidvest Wits and Platinum Stars.
Group 2 places defending Joburg champions Orlando Pirates against Highlands Park, SuperSport United and Bophelo FC, while Kaizer Chiefs, Soweto All Stars, Mamelodi Sundowns and Polokwane City Rovers await trading punches in Group 3.
Tuks will, meanwhile, tackle little known Axton Panorama, Stars of Africa and School of Excellence in Group 4. Commenting on how he hopes for his team to fare at the event, Bidvest Wits player Jaime Crock said cup football has the propensity to spring up unexpected surprises. "This is tournament football and you can expect anything on any day from any team," he said. "So, the guys have been preparing very hard and are looking forward to the challenge."
Phuphu Mohlaba, who is the youth coach at Bidvest Wits said the tournament offers a great level of competition. He added that falling short of tournament honours was a disappointment the team would not look to endure a fourth time.
"In terms of the emotional side of it, there are a lot of players who went to the final last year for us. We lost, unfortunately, and it was very disappointing for them,” said Mohlaba. “That was our third final, so we’re hoping to make amends this year.”
He added, “In terms of the level of competition, we need more high quality and more high intensity competitions at youth level to really activate the potential within our youth. And so we’re very happy to be a part of this tournament.”
Victory over Pirates sees Wits into Pirates Grand Challenge Semi-final.
FNB Wits Rugby will count under the Top 4 of the Pirates Grand Challenge for the first time since 1979.
Wits got one over the Greenside Club for the second time in 2017 with a 17-12 victory at Pirates on Friday night. Jethro de Lange and Lux Ntsepe scored the only tries of the night with Warren Gilbert adding the rest of Wits' points with the boot. Wits will meet either Pukke or Raiders on 12 August in the semi-finals. It is the first time ever that the Witsies qaulified for the knockout stage of the competition.
The 1979 Witsies were coached by former All Black Alan Sutherland and assisted by Wits old boy and Springbok Paul Bayvel. They lost 22-25 to Pukke and 22-26 to RAU in the 1979 campaign. It might be necessary for the 2017 team to beat both these foes if they want to lift the Pirates Grand Challenge in 2017.
Wits gives SA women’s hockey the edge to the World Cup
- Karen Mwendera
After beating Ireland 3-0 at Wits, the SA Women’s national hockey team prepares to play to play in the World Cup final 2018 in London.
Wits gives SA women’s hockey the edge to the World Cup – Wits Vuvuzela
The South African women’s hockey team qualified for the 2018 World Cup with a 3-0 victory over Ireland at the Hockey World League (HWL) world cup qualifiers at Wits Astro on Thursday, July 20. The team were ranked fifth after beating Japan 2-1 on the weekend.
The HWL qualifiers took place between 9 and 23 July and hosted 20 of the world’s best men’s and women’s international teams at the Wits Hockey stadium at Education Campus.
According to the International Hockey Federation (commonly known as FIH) the SA women’s team is ranked 13 in the world. It was the only African Nation in the qualifiers and Wits was able to witness this momentous occasion at home.
Wits was awarded the honour to host the international tournament due to its “world-class” facilities according to Wits News. The Wits hockey grounds were built in 2013 and met FIH hosting requirements.
“We are delighted to contribute to the beautiful game of hockey and that our facilities are able to attract international events to South Africa,” said Adrian Carter, head of Wits Sports.
SA women’s national hockey coach, Sheldon Rostron, believes that playing on home ground gave them a great advantage.
“I think being in your own country adds other pressures and experiences that we have not faced yet much as a team with an event of this magnitude on our doorstep. We utilised the energy and the support well to contribute to our performances,” Rostron told Wits Vuvuvzela.
Apart from Wits’ tremendous efforts to ensure a successful international hockey tournament, some of the players on the national women’s hockey team are part of Wits’ very own.
Rostron thanked all the organisers and Wits for their contribution to hockey as a sport and their team for “making an absolute success of this prestigious event”.
The national team will now prepare to play in the World Cup finals which will take place in London in 2018.
Tarryn Glasby one of the players for the team said “we get to go to the World Cup next year, which is every professional sport person’s dream.”
Hockey Premier League balanced on a knife edge
With only a few games to go both Wits Men and Women premier league hockey teams are still “in it, to win it.”
It looks like both leagues will only be decided on the last day of the league. The last games of the year for the Witsies are as follows:
Four students in the Wits University’s Football team (Wits FC) have been selected to represent South Africa in the 2017 World Students Games
Four students in the Wits University’s Varsity Football team (Wits FC) have been selected to represent South Africa in the World Students Games (WSG) to be held in Taipei City, Taiwan, between 19 and 30 August.
The four students, Gift Baloyi, Sibusiso Maphanga, Mahle Matabane, and Tshireletso Motsogi, were selected after completing the University Sports South Africa (USSA) trials which were held in Mpumalanga.
Wits FC’s team captain, Maphanga, has been selected for the tournament for three consecutive years.
“It is an honour for me to represent the nation once again, I believe I will gain a lot of experience and skills, as I have previously played against big teams including Brazil,” he said.
Baloyi said he was excited to be amongst the four students who were selected, adding that he thought he was chosen because he was a striker and a leading goal scorer during the trials. Matabane shared the same sentiments. He said that he was looking forward to the tournament and learning new skills.
Coach Mark Haskins said he was proud of the four players, “They are exceptional players, they got varying abilities…We have always known that they have the ability to play at that [international] level.” In 2015 there was one student who was selected, three in 2016 and four in the 2017 games, which is “really great” Haskins said.
The four students will be competing at the 29thSummer Universiade International Sporting Tournament (UIST), where university student athletes from all over the world will be competing against each other in various sporting activities
Wits hand first Transformation Fund bursary to grade 12 learner
- Jabu Mthombeni
The Joburg derby lived up to its thrilling expectations, but behind the scenes Wits bagged a victory of their own.
The Joburg derby lived up to its thrilling expectations, as UJ put four past Wits, claiming the Joburg throne. But behind the scenes Wits bagged a victory of their own, celebrating the inauguration of the first beneficiary of the Wits Sport transformation fund.
On what was a disappointing match at home against TUT, UJ travelled to Wits as the next opponents in a Joburg derby. Fans came out in numbers to support their teams and as expected the match was blazing and fast-paced, with UJ dictating play. The UJ team came out victors scoring four goals past the Clever Boys.
Behind the scenes, Wits Sport hosted a media briefing announcing a Gauteng grade 12 learner, Sisipho Magwaza, as the first recipient of the Wits Sport Transformation Fund. The transformation fund held by Wits is aimed at supporting students with sporting and academic talent from disadvantaged backgrounds. The University of Witwatersrand vice-chancellor and principal, Mr Adam Habib acknowledged the milestone when addressing the media, saying “We look forward to Sisipho Magwaza officially joining Wits in 2018, along with other sports bursary recipients still to be identified.”
Observing the current situation of our country and the financial struggles the people of South Africa are facing, the Wits Sport Transformation Fund is a win for the sport fraternity and for those eager to pursue their studies and sports simultaneously. With sport, battles are won on and off the field and what better way to unite and conquer the perpetual issues in our communities?
Wits University had invited former Banyana Banyana captain, Simphiwe Dludlu, to be the patron of the of the transformation fund. Since it is women’s month, it only made sense that the first recipient be a female counterpart. Simphiwe Dludlu gladly expressed her delight saying “I was once a student-athlete and to see a young women receive this life changing opportunity brings great joy. For me it means young women out there see me as a great role model and what better way to influence and lead.
“Both education and sport played their part, education enabling us to transform and sport enabling us to unite,” said Wits Vice-chancellor, Adam Habib.
Wits Fencing Inter-Club Tournament – 12 August 2017
Saturday 12 Aug 2017 , the Wits Fencing Club hosted a foil tournament and invited fencers from clubs all over Gauteng.
This event follows our first Internal Tournament last semester, which was only for Wits members – this time, 13 fencers from other clubs joined us for an inter-club competition in an effort to foster friendliness and sportsmanship among Gauteng foil fencers. This competition also served to promote and strengthen foil as a weapon category in the province, in the hopes of cementing Gauteng as a formidable contender in national foil events. The event also increased time on the piste for all our fencers, particularly new additions to the club who want to build their competitive repertoire and prepare for provincial tournaments. Additionally, this competition served as a fundraising event for the club – in the end, we raised an impressive R2000 from entry fees. Two Wits members managed to medal, and an alumnus of Wits Fencing Club took the gold in Women’s Foil. All in all, Wits Fencing managed to run a competition with 22 participants in a professional manner, and our fencers performed with enthusiasm and vigour. We shall see all the participants again at the next provincial ranking tournament on the 26th of August – get ready for intense rematches!
Wits Fencing Club would like to thank the following: the Gauteng Fencing Association, for providing us with electronic pistes for the tournament, and being generally supportive of our endeavors to promote Gauteng fencing; Jo-Ann Saner, who generously donated her time to organize and run the competition with efficiency and professionalism; and finally, the referees Justin Logie, Alex Raizman and Andrei Kovrijnykh for their time and expertise.
This weekend the Wits Fencing Club took part in the GFA 3rd Ranking Tournament at the Wanderers Country Club in Johannesburg.
On Saturday the 26th, Wits Fencers competed in the Senior Men's and Senior Women’s Epee events. Top performers in the Women’s Epee were Natalja Cerimaj, who placed 7th, and team captain, Andrea Cabanac who placed 9th.
On Sunday the 27th, the Senior Foil events were held, and Wits fencers were in good form with bronze medals being secured by both Frankie Snyman in the Men’s, and Andrea Cabanac in the Women’s. Other top performers were Michael Gaynor and Daniel Chen, placing 6th and 5th respectively.
Tournament placings of Wits Fencers: Senior Men’s Epee: Frankie Snyman (14th) Daniel Chen (15th) Mike Gaynor (16th) Paulo Graca (18th) Senior Women’s Epee: Natalja Cerimaj (7th) Andrea Cabanac (9th) Vera-Jean Fourie (12th) Senior Men’s Foil: Frankie Snyman (3rd) Daniel Chen (5th) Mike Haynor (6th) Senior Women’s Foil: Andrea Cabanac: (3rd) Vera Jean Fourie (9th) Natalja Cerimaj (10th)
Wits Fencing Club will be hosting an inter-club Foil Tournament at Wits on the 23rd of September and will be attending the Western Cape Open in Cape Town on the 29th of September.
Well done to all the fencers and all the best for the coming battles, onwards and upwards!
Wits lands eight nominations at 2017 Gauteng Sports Awards announcements
- Tshepiso Mametela
Wits landed an unprecedented eight category nominations at this year’s Gauteng Sport Awards finalist reveal, announced by Gauteng MEC for Sports
RANDFONTEIN – It was an exceptional outing for Wits at the red carpet ceremony that heralded the 2017 Gauteng Sports Awards finalist announcements at the Green Hills Stadium in Randfontein on 8 September. Wits Tang Soo Do, who has enjoyed an illustrious last 12 months of competition, proved strong enough to earn adjudicator appraisal with an unprecedented four nods at this year’s nominees reveal.
The club overwhelmingly secured Team of the Year (Wits Tang Soo Do); Sportsman of the Year (Kim Lucas); Sportswoman of the Year (Tanita Ramburuth-Hurt) and Most Promising Athlete (Madimetja Malebana) finalist spots.
Wits Hockey star, Nthabeleng Maine completed Wits’ charge with a nod in the Most Promising Athlete category, while water polo coach, Kelsey White shot her way into the Coach of the Year list for a second year running, alongside CAF title-winning coach, Pitso Mosimane and recently appointed Xerox Golden Lions defence and Wits Assistant 1stXV coach, Johannes Mongalo.
The upward trajectory was justified for Wits as, for the second consecutive year, a team from the university received nomination for the coveted Team of the Year trophy, following the exploits of Wits Rugby at last year’s unveiling. The day’s revelations meant that Wits earned overwhelming bragging rights over the major universities to receive nominations on the day. UJ managed three nominations in total while the University of Pretoria scooped a poultry two.
Wits, along with finalists across 19 categories, will, however, have to wait a few weeks to learn if they’ve done enough to walk away eventual winners. Award winners will be named at a gala event at the Silverstar Casino in Krugersdorp on 1 October.
Speaking at the announcement, Gauteng MEC for Sports, Arts and Culture, Faith Mazibuko congratulated the year's nominees. "These are sportsmen and women who have flown Gauteng's flag in the field of play," she said. "We wish them the best as we head towards the award ceremony in October. The winners will go on to represent the province, our home of champions, at the national awards, so they need our full support."
The complete nominations are:
Sportman of the Year
Kim Lucas – Wits University – Tang Soo Do
Lawrence Brittian – TUKS Rowing - Rowing
Hlompho Kekana – Mamelodi Sundowns – Football
Sportwoman of the Year
Neila Tembe –Gauteng Volleyball Union - Volleyball
Tanita Ramburuth Hurt – Wits Sport – Combat Tang Soo Do
Janine Van Wyk – South African Football Association – Football
Sport Team of the Year
Wits Sport – Wits Tang Soo Do – Martial Arts
Mamelodi Sundowns – Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club – Football
Golden Lions Rugby Union – Emirates Lions Super Rugby Team – Rugby
Disabled Sportwoman of the Year
Sandra Khumalo - Para Rowing Single Scull – Rowing
Maria Combrink - Wits, CGSAPD – Athletics
Kgothatso Montjane - Wheelchair Tennis South Africa –Tennis
Coach of the Year
Kelsey White - Wits, Central Gauteng Water Polo – Water Polo
Pitso Mosimane - Mamelodi Sundowns – Football
Johannes Nthooro Mongalo - Wits, Golden Lions Rugby Union – Rugby
Most Promising Athletes
Madimetja Malebana – Wits Sport – Combat Tang Soo Do
Nthabeleng Maine – Wits Hockey – Hockey U/21 World Cup Women’s Hockey
Sheldon Thomas – UJ Sport for Disability - Athletics
Siyabonga Samkelo Wiseman Mbatha – Gauteng Volleyball Union – Volleyball
Tang Soo Do at Wits a cut above the rest
- Tshepiso Mametela
Wits Tang Soo Do have proven that they are among the best in the business, with a stellar haul of medals to show.
Wits Tang Soo Do have proven that they are among the best in the business, and with a stellar haul of medals to show for it and 4 nominations at the annual Gauteng Sports Awards, ought to be a clear indication of the success to follow.
BRAAMFONTEIN – The Wits Tang Soo Do Dojang (club) have enjoyed a stellar year on the karate mat. The club has raked in a flurry of 140 medals between October last year and at the recent South African (SA) National Korean Martial Arts Championships in Potchefstroom.
The team managed a total of 17 medals in Potchefstroom, to go with their haul of 16 medals from the 2017 SA Korean Martial Arts Gauteng Championships, and 31, 42 and 34 from the 2017 Arnold Classic Africa All-Styles Championships, the 2017 SA Combat Tang Soo Do and Haedong Kumdo Championships and the 2016 World Martial Arts Game, respectively.
"It's fulfilling to have to do the best you possibly can, after months of training, and be happy with how you performed,” said Wits student and chairperson of the Wits Tang Soo Do club, Tanita Ramburuth-Hurt, who’s managed nine gold medals in that period.
Ramburuth-Hurt harbors the belief that physical and mental preparation are intertwined. She said Hwang Kee, founder of Tang Soo Do, among other martial arts forms, captures this sentiment best through his teachings. “Physically, preparation [going into all the tournaments] was standard Tang Soo Do preparation for me. It included training hard twice a week at the Wits Dojang, and a couple more times a week in my own time.
“Mentally, I've found that if I go out and enjoy what I'm doing [rather] than worry about whether it will get me a medal, helps to not let the nerves overcome me. Of course this does mean that I have to know my forms and moves 100 percent, so I also don't have to worry about messing them up.”
Wits martial arts coach, Gregory Hart, added, ''These results are no surprise due to the hard work the Wits club always does in preparation for tournaments. The [students’] commitment is laudable and it’s wonderful to see them perform and succeed so admirably at any national event featuring all the Korean styles.''
Recently Wits Tang Soo Do surprised friend and foe with four nominations for the annual Gauteng Sports Awards. These include:
Gauteng Sportsman of the Year: Kim Lucas
Gauteng Sportswoman of the Year: Tanita Ramburuth-Hurt
Gauteng Team of the Year: Wits Tang Soo Do
Most Promising Athletes: Madimetja Malebana
Southern Gauteng Ladies U/21 IPT Hockey Champions
The Southern Gauteng u/21 Ladies team with loads of Wits Hockey representation are the national champions after defeating WP in the final.
Under 21 IPT - Western Province and Southern Gauteng are the Champions - South African Hockey Association
The final was a tense afair. It was a tentative opening half as the two sides waited for openings to capitalise. Southern Gauteng has been immense under Tsoanelo Pholo, but her charges were not going to underestimate Cindy Brown’s squad.
The game, however, came to life in the third chukka as Southerns fired back-to-back penalty corners in the 36th and 37th minutes through Lezaan Janse and then Gabriella Terblanche. The impressive defensive unit would then shut up shop and Nadia Mattana in goals would deal with whatever was thrown her way. They ended the tournament having conceded only one goal and were rightfully our 2017 under 21 IPT Champions.
Apart from CoachTsoanelo, Wits had a total of 5 Wits ladies in the SG U/21 team. Astonishingly 9 men made the SG U/21 team. This certainly bodes very well for the future of Wits Hockey.
Wits Hockey Development Project
The Wits Hockey Club will this year initiate the first of what is to become an annual development initiative aimed at developing hockey at a grass roots level.
The programme for this project consists of two days of world class coaching during a weekend camp in September 2017.
During this weekend 50 young players aged between 12 and 13 years old- who play at hockey clubs in economically disadvantaged communities- will be coached by passionate provincial and national level players at the Wits Hockey stadium. The goal is to grow the skills base of these young athletes, as well as their confidence and love of the game.
Wits Hockey hopes that this initiative grows, into a sustained project, that can include more young athletes. The weekend camp is the start of our club’s engagement in empowering young hockey players. In this regard a long term corporate sponsorship will capacitate Wits Hockey to extend the length of the project over more weekends and support the young athletes in more ways including financial support, kit, coaching and motivation.
The project will take place on the 30th of September and 1st of October 2017.
For more information schools are welcome to contact Kamal Ramburuth-Hurt the Wits Hockey Chairperson at firstname.lastname@example.org
2017 Wits Sport Awards honours top talent
- Tshepiso Mametela
Celebrating sporting excellence at Wits.
Wits Sport Successes
2017 - Bidvest Wits: Professional Soccer League Champions
2017 - Men and Women National University Sports South Africa Champions – first time ever
2016 - Men’s National USSA Champions
2016 - Women, USSA, GUBL and ICSL finalists
2017 - Pirates Grand Challenge: Semi- nalist – first time ever
2017 - University Sports South Africa: Semi- nalist – first time ever
2017 - Varsity Cup: 5th Place nish. Best nish ever by a new team (included a win over the defending Champions)
2016 - Varsity Shield Champions
2016 - Rugby U/20 Assupol Cup Champions
2016 - Rugby - Gauteng Sports Awards Team of the Year Nominee
2016 - Waterpolo: Women’s Premier League Champions – first time ever
2016 - Water polo: Gauteng Sports Awards Coach of the Year and Upcoming Player of the Year Nominee
2016 - Cricket Premier League Gauteng T20 Champions - first time ever
2017 - Varsity Hockey Women Semi- nalist – first time ever
2017 - Men and Women USSA Semi- nalist – first time ever
2016 - Varsity Hockey Men’s Semi- nalists- first time ever
2016 - Hockey Premier League: Men nalists, Ladies semi- nalists
2017 - Tang Soo Do: 30 Medals at the Arnold Classic Africa
2016 - Tang Soo Do: 33 Medals at World Martial Arts Championships
2016 - Women’s Fours University Sports South Africa Champions
Hosting of National and International Events
2017 - International Hockey Federation: World Hockey League Semi-Finals
2017 - University Sports South Africa Tournaments: Rugby, Hockey, Chess, Gymnastics, Football
2017 - Engen Knockout Football Challenge
2016 - University Sports South Africa Tournaments: Hockey, Basketball
2016 - South African Schools Sport Championships
BRAAMFONTEIN – In honour of top sporting excellence at Wits University, the annual Wits Sport Awards were held on 28 September at the Wits Sport Hall, Sturrock Park in Braamfontein.
Basketball was crowned the 2017 Club of the Year with Fortunate Bosega named Sportswoman of the Year and Kaizer Maphanga Sportsman of the Year.
A number of student athletes got the nod for the University’s Half-Blue Colours award – which recognises athletes who have excelled at senior club or provincial tournaments. Recipients included Rhyno Herbst and Luvuyo Pupuma for rugby, Dwight Snyman for fencing, Paige Edwards, Tanita Ramburuth-Hurt and Madimetja Malebana for Tang Soo Do, Kamal Ramburuth-Hurt and Thabang Modise for hockey as well as Angelo Quin, Romario Farrao, Fortunate Bosega and Modiegi Mokoka for basketball.
Full Blue Colours were awarded to Michael Stewart for aquatics, Gianni Lombard and Wandile Simelane for rugby, Titus Masike, Refilwe Gomba, Kim Lucas and Lindokuhle Mbatha for Tang Soo Do, Catherine Honegger and Roxanne Prout for gymnastics, Rusten Abrahams, Toni Marks and Petro Stoffberg for hockey and Miguel Ferrao and Everisto Pasipamire for basketball. The award honours student athletes who have paved the way towards reaching the highest level in their respective sporting careers.
For their incredible exploits in representing South Africa on the international stage, Crystal Lee-Poulter and Jonathan Judin (karate) and Maria Combrink (athletics) were awarded Full Blue Cum Laude colours – the highest sporting accolade awarded at Wits University.
Meanwhile, Wits Football captain and captain of the SA student team at the 2017 World Student Games in Chinese Taipei, Kaizer Maphanga walked away with the coveted Sportsman of the Year trophy, while Fortunate Bosega, regarded as arguably the best female basketball player in the country, was crowned the 2017 Sportswoman of the Year.
The Wits Basketball club took home the coveted title of Club of the Year, with Tanita Ramburuth-Hurt honoured as Sports Administrator of the Year. The Varsity Sports Player of the Year award went to Kelly Wrensch while Robyn Fyvie took home the Mel Siff Sportsmanship Trophy for displaying solid sportsmanship at Wits, both on and off the field. Gauteng Disabled Sportswoman of the Year Maria Combrink won the Disabled Sports Trophy.
Wits duo shine at 2017 Gauteng Sport Awards
- Tshepiso Mametela
The Wits pair of Tang Soo Do star Tanita Ramburuth-Hurt and SA Paralympic athlete Maria Combrink shone brightest for Wits at the 2017 Gauteng Sport Awards.
BRAAMFONTEIN – The Wits pair of Tang Soo Do front runner, Tanita Ramburuth-Hurt and disabled sportswoman star, Maria Combrink outshone the competition at the coveted 2017 Gauteng Sport Awards on 1 October.
The winners were revealed at a black tie gala event held at the Silverstar Casino in Krugersdorp, and will qualify as automatic finalists for the South African (SA) Sport Awards in November. Ramburuth-Hurt scooped the Sportswoman of the Year award in a category that featured Gauteng volleyball ace Neila Tembe and senior South African football star, Janine van Wyk, while Combrink walked off with the Sportswoman of the Year with a Disability accolade.
Combrink's illustrious year on the field saw her compete in the non-medalling 2016 ParAthletics Swiss Grand Prix in Nottwil, Switzerland and claim gold in the women's F44 discus and shotput events at the 2017 Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled. She subsequently made the South Africa team to compete at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London, where she earned 4th and 7th place finishes in the F44 shotput and discus events, respectively.
Meanwhile, Ramburuth-Hurt, who holds a 4th Gup (a varied colored belt) in combat Tang Soo Do, said she did not expect to win in what, for her, was a tough category. "I was definitely shocked. I was not expecting to win at all [since] I was up against some really incredible sportswomen – who've made names for themselves in their respective sporting codes," said Ramburuth-Hurt.
"I would love to get as far as I can in Tang Soo Do, so my main goal at the moment is to grow in the sport. Winning this award will also equip me with enough publicity to get more woman involved in the sport and up the profile of combat Tang Soo Do in the country." She added, "I don't think I can say that I'm confident to win at the SA Sport Awards considering how surprised I was that I managed to win the Gauteng Sportswoman of the Year." Despite this, Ramburuth-hurt next has her sights set on the World Tang Soo Do Championships in London next year.
Her dazzling list of accolades include three gold medals at the South African Tang Soo Do Championships and one at the Arnold Classic National All-Styles martial arts tournament in 2017. At the 10th World Martial Arts Games in October last year, Ramburuth-Hurt achieved four gold medals to go along with silver and bronze medal placings.
Fencing at the Western Cape Open National Tournament
At the end of September, four of the Wits Fencing Club’s best fencers went down to Cape Town for the fourth national tournament of the year.
With its smaller pool of accomplished fencers, the Western Cape Open is the toughest national competition in the sport, and the Witsies proudly formed part of the minimal representation from Gauteng. Our results from the competition were mixed, with some our fencers excelling on one day and facing defeat on the other. Unfortunately, Wits did not manage to medal in this tournament; however, all four competitors from our club managed to improve their national rankings, with both women remaining in the top ten of foil, and new fencer Daniel Chen entering the top 10 of foil.
The national rankings after the Western Cape Open are as follows:
Women’s Foil Women’s Epée
Andrea Cabanac - 6th Andrea Cabanac - 13th
Natalija Cerimaj – 7th Natalija Cerimaj - 16th
Men’s Foil Men’s Epée
Daniel Chen - 9th Frankie Snyman - 27th
Frankie Snyman - 12th Daniel Chen – 36th
All of our fencers sent down to the Western Cape stayed in the top half of their weapon categories’ national rankings, despite the difficulty of the competition. Technical difficulties with our equipment did not dampen our determination, and thus far this year we are four-for-four in terms of national tournament attendance – something that cannot be said for virtually any other university fencing club.
Our next tournaments are the Wits Internal Foil competition on the 7th of October, and thereafter we will be preparing for the final provincial tournament of 2017, the Gauteng Fencing Association closed ranking competition on the 21st and 22nd of October.
Wits Fencing wins Gold at Gauteng Closed
The 2017 fencing season for provincial competition came to end with the Gauteng Closed championships, on the 21st and 22nd of October
This was the last provincial competition for the year and the Wits fencers ended the season on a high note! Natalija Cerimaj and Andrea Cabanac walked out of Orland Community Hall sporting bronze and gold medals respectively, both in the category of Senior Women’s Foil. After a long absence from fencing, veteran fencer Tarryn Maggs returned to competition in full force and dominated in the pools round, despite taking a break from training. Our male fencers fought valiantly to remain in the top ten of Senior Men’s foil, and all three of them managed to hold their positions. It is also with great pride that we say that Andrea Cabanac is now ranked 1st in Gauteng for senior women’s foil until the start of the next fencing season – once again showing South African fencing that Wits is a university to be reckoned with.
The provincial rankings after this tournament, and until 2018, are as follows:
Women’s Foil Women’s Epée
Andrea Cabanac – 1st Andrea Cabanac - 5th
Natalija Cerimaj – 3rdNatalija Cerimaj - 9th
Tarryn Maggs – 11th Tarryn Maggs – 17th
Men’s Foil Men’s Epée
Frankie Snyman – 6th Mike Gaynor – 13th
Daniel Chen – 7thDaniel Chen – 15th
Mike Gaynor – 8th Paulo Graca – 17th
Frankie Snyman– 18th
We are immensely proud of our first team fencers that participated, and we eagerly await the next – and final – national tournament of 2018: the Gauteng Open will take place on the 2nd and 3rd of December. Good luck to all our athletes for final exams!
Wits Tang Soo Do team eye 2018 world champs
- Tshepiso Mametela
15 Wits Tang Soo Do members have embarked on the endeavour of securing the necessary financial backing in order to compete at the 2018 World Championships
BRAAMFONTEIN – After enjoying a stellar outing in 2017, the Wits Tang Soo Do club have now turned their focus on gearing up for the 2018 Tang Soo Do World Championships in London in August next year.
The team, having put their martial arts prowess on full display since the start of the season in October last year, boast more than a dozen high-flying Tang Soo Do student-athletes who did just enough to earn spots in the South Africa team that will look to do the business on the international stage.
Former club chairman and 2017 Gauteng Sport Awards Sportsman of the Year finalist, Kim Lucas, reflected on the club’s sublime season, describing the selection of more than a dozen student-athletes from the Wits Tang Soo Do club as an incredible feat.
“Our selection for the South African team came as no surprise, judging by the way we have been dominating [tournaments] throughout the year,” said Lucas, in reference to the over 180 medals the club’s managed since the beginning of the season.
“I’m surprised at the number of students that have been selected. It’s something that’s incredible to see considering that only two Wits athletes made the national team six years ago. Even though I expected that we’d get some students selected, it [however] came as a surprise that there were that many.”
In addition, Lucas said that the team would require robust financial backing if they are to make good on the opportunity of representing South Africa. “Our team is comprised entirely of students and very often this results in various financial restraints and academic pressure.
“Our great success has obviously come at a price. In order for to compete next year we need to raise [about] R32 000 per athlete. Most of the students are, unfortunately, not financially able to finance their trip to London.
“Any assistance in this regard will be highly appreciated and we are certain we can come up with various incentives, such as brand advertising on our South African uniforms, or any other means of providing a valuable service to any donors.”
Tang Soo Do, like several other sporting codes in South Africa, has not received much coverage, although a growing sport. Lucas said this was unfortunate given the fact that a number of local athletes within the discipline have competed on the global stage.
“I don’t see why our Proteas team, like many other sports, don’t receive the attention and recognition that it deserves. At the end of the day, none of us do it for the money or the glory – we do what we do because we love it, and because we are proud to show the world what South Africa has to offer,” ended Lucas.
Major Scoop for Tsoanelo
Wits Hockey coach Tsoanelo Pholo has become the first black female coach to go through the highest international qualification and score a distinction.
Wits Hockey coach, Pholo, has passed with distinction one of the highest qualifications in a hockey coaching career. She breaks new ground as the first black female hockey coach on the continent to climb this ladder.
South Africa was victorious on many fronts during the Hockey African Cup of Nations Tournament which took place on 22 – 29 October 2017 in Ismailia, Egypt. Not only did the national male and female teams win the tournaments, South Africa also achieved a first for the continent.
Pholo, a former national hockey player sat for the level 3 hockey coaching exams administered by the International Hockey Federation in partnership with the African Hockey Federation. She also achieved the highest score in the group and received a special recommendation from the international federation to which will fast-tack her coaching career.
Pholo who held the position of striker in the national team joined Wits in January 2017 to coach at the Hockey Club. Wits Sports Administration has congratulated the Olympian.
“We are ridiculously proud of her achievement. The Wits Women's hockey teams now have the benefit and advantage to tap into two world-class hockey coaches. Tsoanelo joined the Wits Hockey coaching staff this year and has produced great results so far. There is a renewed energy and focus and the female hockey players train and play like champions,” says Adrian Carter, Head of Wits Sport.
“We have long stated that a coach is responsible for creating the right environment for our student-athletes to thrive, transform and develop optimally”. Pholo has had a record season this year for the Wits Second Team and recently coached the Southern Gauteng women’s u/21 team to national glory. This proves that she has a bright and inspirational career ahead of her.”
This achievement is particularly special in that Wits Sport launched the first ever Wits Sport Transformation Fund on 18 August at which the first recipient was none other than a Junior National Hockey goalkeeper, Sisipho Magwaza.
“We have no doubt that Pholos’s coaching achievements will inspire future black hockey players to join the wonderful Wits women’s hockey system that has simply undergone the most wonderful transformation over the past few years.
This is not only an incredible achievement for Pholo, Wits or Southern Gauteng, but forcontinent. If we invest in supremely talented people like Pholo, there is simply no telling what she will be able to achieve and just how much of a positive impact she will have on the South African hockey landscape,” beamed Carter.
Salomon SkyRun appeal 2017
Wits Director Sport, Adrian Carter is once again putting his money, legs and lungs where his mouth is, by competing in the 100km Salomon SkyRun.
In a case of ‘traversing the roof of South Africa to put a roof over the heads of deserving and talented student-athletes’, WitsSport – the sport management wing of Wits University – today launches another initiative similar to 2014 which is strongly aligned to the Wits Sport Transformation Fund to help fund top-performing and deserving sportsmen and women at Wits.
The appeal is headed by WitsSport Director Adrian Carter, and is focused towards the Wits’ Alumni and Staff community at large. Furthermore it is aimed at supporting a principled and ethical responsibility to transform young black student-athletes lives at Wits University.
Adrian is once again putting his money, legs and lungs where his mouth is, by competing in the 100km Salomon SkyRun, and is hoping to entice supporters to part with a fixed amount per kilometer run.
The Salomon SkyRun, through the E Cape’s Witteberg Mountain range, some 2200-2500 metres above sea level in a very harsh environment, is an incredible challenge for even the hardiest of athletes. It is considered SA’s toughest trail run that can only be tackled with a map, compass or GPS unit, and a backpack of provisions as well as compulsory equipment.
He completed the run in 2014 in a shade less than 25 hours and is hoping to hit the 20 hour mark this time around.
Many talented sportsmen and women wishing to study and develop their sporting skills at University are simply unable to do due to exorbitant costs; this is where the newly established Wits Sport Transformation Fund comes in. In the recruitment drives held by WitsSport this year, prospective student-athletes and their parents have made plain the need to live in an environment where they are both safe and can thrive in the lecture hall and on the sports field. Through initiatives such as these, we hope for as many donations as possible to increase the value of our Sport Transformation Fund, which is aimed at providing scholarships for prospective Wities from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Financial aid provided by the university in 2017 enabled many top Wits student-athletes to live in res and benefit from the diverse camaraderie and safety that living in university res affords them to hone their sporting and academic skills. The University has been extremely supportive of Wits Sport and its cause, but there is always more work to be done when it comes to supporting those less fortunate than ourselves.
As Nelson Mandela once famously stated, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.”
WitsSport hopes to ensconce these principles by garnering support from Wits Alumni and Staff who would like to see Wits not only participate but compete at the highest level and in doing so promote a value driven culture that inspires and transforms each student-athlete to be the best person they can be.
The 2017 SkyRun takes place on Saturday 17 November 2017, and starts from the town of Lady Grey. Prospective supporters of Adrian’s run may do so by contacting him in the first instance by e-mail. Alternatively, sponsors may deposit their contributions into the following account:
Wits Ladies FC target qualification for the Sasol League after bursting into the Regional Championship Play-Offs for the first time in the history of the club.
BRAAMFONTEIN – In a match that pitted north versus south, Wits Ladies FC trounced Soweto outfit, Mito Stars Ladies FC 6–1 at the UJ Stadium, to be crowned the SAFA Johannesburg Regional League champions on 11 November.
The league win was a first for Wits Ladies, who, as a result, kicked off their campaign in the Regional Championship Play-Offs on 18 November – to determine the best women's football team in Gauteng – alongside regional league champions from Ekurhuleni (Luso Africa Ladies FC), Sedibeng (ElmaGreen Ladies FC), Tshwane (Rosina Sedibane Academy Ladies FC) and the West Rand (Aqua Ladies FC).
Wits has a chance to qualify for the SASOL League if they finish top of the Regional Championship Play-Offs log or in second position. The play-offs conclude on 25 November. The Joburg side currently sits in third, after losing 2–0 to Luso Africa Ladies FC in their opening encounter, before turning the tide in their second match to beat Rosina Sedibane Academy Ladies FC 2–1 at the TUT Stadium in Pretoria.
The SASOL League, largely seen as South Africa's premier women's football league, was formed in 2009 as a partnership between SASOL and SAFA in support of women's football.
Wits Ladies FC coach, Nthabeleng Modiko believes her side has what it takes to qualify for the upcoming SASOL League. "It's been quite a long journey, we are not where I want us to be yet but we have made great progress as a team," said Modiko.
"I think we have surprised a lot of teams and onlookers. But to get to where we are, it wasn't easy at all. It still isn't but we strive ourselves with working hard every time. The team is also blessed to have players that are keen and eager to play the game and learn. That helps a lot."
Modiko added that winning the Johannesburg Regional League counted as one of the many highlights she's recorded in her time in charge of the team. "This season has been an eye-opener, which, in turn, has taught me a lot about myself.
"Taking charge of a big team like Wits as a first-time coach, will always be a humbling experience for me and I am honoured by the faith and trust shown by the Wits Sport management team."
Fantastic first Peak Performance Summit for Wits University
- Tshepiso Mametela
Wits Sport Conference Centre was recently the venue for a high intensity dialogue between leading sports experts and members of the broader sporting fraternity
The Wits Sport Conference Centre in Braamfontein was recently the venue for a high intensity dialogue between leading sports experts and members of the broader sporting fraternity that included high performance athletes and schools.
BRAAMFONTEIN – The creation of a high performance culture featured prominently as Wits Sport, in conjunction with the Wits Counselling and Careers Development Unit, held the inaugural Wits Sport Peak Performance Summit in Braamfontein on 24 and 25 November.
The inaugural Summit invited a number of key professional sporting individuals, who've excelled in their respective sporting and coaching careers, to share some of their insights around how to inject and sustain a successful high performance sporting culture in any environment.
Representatives from universities, schools and provincial federations were also in attendance, including the University of Johannesburg, North-West University, Monash South Africa, St John's College, King Edward VII School (KES), St Mary's School, Parktown Girls' High School, the Gauteng Cricket Board and the Golden Lions Rugby Union.
Speakers at the two-day event included former New Zealand, USA and Golden Lions rugby head coach, John Mitchell, who showed why he is considered, by many, as the best coach in the country. Mitchell said at least two things need to be present in a good team – excellence and meeting expectations consistently. He also stressed the importance of trust and said that failure is often only an opportunity in disguise.
The Wits 1st team basketball team coach, Tshiamo Ngakane, said that talent is usually overrated when recruiting it in a negative way. "Talent will always disappoint you. It is all about getting the right people for your team as having exceptional people will give you an exceptional team," said Ngakane, speaking to the attendees.
On the converse, Varsity Cup Dream Team conditioning coach, Jacques Durandt illustrated how a lack of money and resources should not limit the high performance sport program. He also offered possible practical solutions to some of the more obvious stumbling blocks that school teams face in the high performance environment.
A panel discussion on the values of sport at schools with representatives from KES, St Mary's and Jeppe Boys took centre stage, with the emphasis being on striking a clean balance with academic activity. Peak performance life coach, Rob Yates's discussion centered on the language of the mind. "The mind is like the body's supercomputer, with it being able to put out whatever you put into it, until it breaks at some point in time," he said.
"But that's actually a sporting problem because quite often coaches say 'don't do this, don't do that', and it hits the mind, and for some reason, performers blank and then they don't act on whatever it is that the coach has asked them to do."
Jeff Lunsky, who is the fitness trainer for the Highveld Lions, discussed the importance of strength and conditioning in the professional and school cricket environment in relation to achieving peak performance, while Wits team rugby coaches, Hugo van As and Johannes Mongalo discussed the foundations for high performance success.
Mongalo stressed that coaches should strive to understand the whole person – explaining that the scholar or athlete needed to be understood, in the main, physically, emotionally and mentally.
Exiting new Power Play’ for 2018 Varsity Cup
Varsity Cup captains will be able to remove any two nominated backline players from the opposition for three minutes of playing time during matches next year.
The Power Play, which will also be part of the 2018 Varsity Shield, can only be called by a team while in their own half, must be called by the captain, and can only be called once. If the team whose players have been removed score a try during the Power Play period, they are awarded an extra two points (seven points before the conversion).
'Yellow and red cards are such integral aspects of rugby, yet players and coaches worldwide struggle to deal with the change in personnel,' said Duitser Bosman, CEO of Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield. 'This innovative new rule will foster a generation of rugby players who will be able to defend with fewer teammates on the field and will know how to fully utilise a numerical advantage.'
University of Western Cape coach Chester Williams believes the Power Play rule will bring an exciting edge to the competition. 'The new rule will be good for players, coaches and, most of all, spectators going into next year’s competition, as it keeps the game fresh. Power Play will really keep the game fluid and allow for some innovative thinking from the coaches.
'It will be tactically and strategically challenging for all of the coaches, and will be interesting to see how other coaches react.' The Varsity Cup will kick off on 29 January and the Varsity Shield on 19 February.
2018 Varsity Cup Fixtures
All the fixtures for the 2018 FNB Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff International
The history of Wits Cricket by longtime chairman, Prof Bruce Murray
- Prof Bruce Murray
The legendary Prof Bruce Murray agreed to let us publish his fantasic speech on the History of Wits Cricket at a recent Cricket Alumni function. Enjoy.
History of Wits Cricket
When I was invited to speak at a special cricket dinner designed to bring together as many former players as possible alongside the current crop of players to celebrate the existence and achievements of Wits cricket, I decided it would be best to provide a brief review of the history of Wits cricket, highlighting the particular contributions of different eras, and placing all of you and your achievements in the wider context of the overall history of the club. For our knowledge of the history of Wits cricket we are all deeply indebted to Jonty Winch, the first sports officer responsible for cricket, who in 1990 published his book Wits Sport: An Illustrated History of Sport at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. The book was a tour-de-force—it covered all the sports at Wits, for its material it ransacked the archives and the local and student press, and collected an amazing array of illustrations. The section on Wits cricket is excellent.
But there is always something new to discover or realise in history, and what I woke up to in preparing this talk is the cricket club is the oldest club in the university. Wits University was founded in 1922, but it had a number of predecessors in Johannesburg going back to 1904. The Transvaal Technical Institute was founded in that year, and it was followed by the Transvaal University College in 1906, by the South African School of Mines and Technology in 1910, by the University College, Johannesburg, in 1920, and finally by Wits itself in 1922, with the campus moving from Plein Square in downtown Johannesburg to the current main site of Milner Park. Although it had no fields, the Transvaal Technical Institute did make some provision for sport, setting up an Athletics Club which comprised 3 sections--football (by which was meant soccer), cricket and tennis. In the following year, 1905, football and cricket were organised as clubs under the auspices of the Athletics Committee of the newly formed Students’ Representative Council. Soccer was soon displaced by rugby, and only restored as a club in 1921, thus making cricket the oldest sports club in the University. If we had had our act together—to be more precise, if I had been fully aware--we would have celebrated the club’s centenary in 2005, four years ahead of rugby.
The unfortunate thing is that, by comparison with rugby, the cricket club did not have much of a history prior to the foundation of Wits. From the outset, rugby participated in league competition, whereas cricket engaged in occasional social games. The great advantage that rugby possessed was that it was given access to the fields of the Wanderers Club, adjacent to Park Railway Station, enabling it to participate in regular leagues and establish itself as the premier sport at the School of Mines. Three teams were entered into leagues, and in 1913 the School of Mines was admitted to the Pirates Grand Challenge. By contrast cricket, without its own field, could only resort to occasional friendlies. Even after the foundation of the University, and access to a dirt field and matting wicket, cricket remained something of a ‘cinderalla’ sport prior to World War II.
As became manifest after the foundation of the University, there remained major structural disadvantages in the way of cricket—the first of them being the December/January vacation in the middle of the cricket season The first two attempts to enter league cricket, in the 1923/4 and 1924/5 seasons, ended in ignominy, with the club having to withdraw from the league as it could not field a team over the vacation. Even when the club did manage to field a team, it was often gravely weakened by the vacation.
A second major structural disadvantage was the university’s prohibition on Sunday sport. The club was limited to Saturday afternoon cricket, but the strongest leagues were contested on a Sunday. The result that serious players often preferred to join outside clubs, generally the old boys clubs of their former schools, keeping Wits cricket weak.
A third major problem was that of of facilities. During the 1920s and 1930s several attempts were made to plant a grass outfield, and there was no ground to play on as when this first happened in the mid-1920s--the game was consequently dropped from the ‘list of sporting activities’ at Wits. For the 1928/9 season Wits cricket resurfaced, and managed to end third in the Saturday Second League. In the 1932/3 season Wits won the Chauncey Cup, and produced its first provincial player, the bowler Tony Gyngell, a Transvaal regular for a few seasons. But the problem of the ground then obtruded again—in 1935 a turf wicket was laid, but it was not until 1938 that a grass oval was ready, the lack of rain postponing its planting. In the interim the club complained it had to ‘hire a backyard’ for its home matches. In 1938/9, playing its first full season on grass, the club won promotion to the Lionel Phillips Reserve League A, finishing second in that league in 1939/40, when league play ceased for the remainder of World War II. The star player was the batsman Eric Norton, who in 1952/3 toured Australia with Jack Cheetham’s Springboks.
Things looked up after the war. In 1948 the University Council finally lifted its ban on Sunday sport, and Wits cricket was able to come into its own. In 1945/6 Wits entered the senior Lionel Phillips League, with games played over consecutive Saturday afternoons, and in 1948/9 Wits was admitted to the Transvaal League, played over a full Sunday.
The first senior competition Wits won was the Lionel Phillips League in 1953/4. The team included Joe Pamensky, later a President of the South African Cricet Union (1986-8) and now an honorary life president of Cricket South Africa in recognition of his life-long services to cricket administration, the rugby stars Freddie Herbst and Clive Ulyate—Ulyate was one of the finest all-round sportsmen produced by Wits, representing Transvaal at cricket and South Africa at rugby—the captain Ian Morrison, who captained SA Universities for 3 successive seasons (1954-6), and the President was the legendary Walter Milton, who we celebrate at the beginning of each season with the Walter Milton memorial game. Four years later, 1957/8, Wits won the Transvaal Premier League for the first time, clinching the title in the last game against Jeppe Old Boys. Wits scraped a first innings win with the last pair at the wicket, and then chased 148 for an outright to make sure of winning the league. The game ended in a tie in the dark. That was enough to give Wits the title. Fritz Koch was the captain and John Landau the scorer.
I would have watched the Wits teams of the early and mid fifties. As a schoolboy I helped operate the scoreboard at the Wanderers Oval and then the Wanderers Stadium for club games, graduating to press scorer for the first Tests at the Stadium, against England in 1956/7, where I joined John Landau. John scored for the SABC and the legendary cricket commentator, Charles Fortune, while I scored for the newspaper correspondents. One of the English correspondents, as I remember, used to spend the day on the golf course gathering the gossip on the English players that would provide his headlines, and at the end of the day he would plonk himself down next to me and say: ‘Tell me my boy, what happened here today’.
The fifties were the hey day of club cricket in the Transvaal—John Arlott, the BBC commentator, reckoned the Transvaal League was the strongest in the Commonwealth. All the top players competed, there was extensive press coverage, and people came to watch. With no TV, no Sunday movies, no Sunday shopping, the only Sunday entertainment was cricket—or in the winter, hockey and baseball, games which many cricketers played in order to keep their eyes in. By the end of the fifties Wits had three teams entered in the Saturday and Sunday league competitions thanks to the acquisition of a second field.
The other major competition Wits cricket played in was the annual SA Universities Cricket Week, first staged in 1947 and first won by Wits in 1951, when the tournament was first held in Johannesburg.
At the end of the fifties and beginning of the sixties, very much the star player at Wits was Eddie Barlow, like Ulyate a great all-round sportsman, playing rugby for Transvaal at center and cricket for South Africa, and as a cricketer he was one of the world’s greatest all-rounders, an aggressive opening batsman, a highly effective medium-paced bowler, and a brilliant slip fielder. At Wits he began his cricketing life as a wicket-keeper, on one occasion stumping John Waite, the Springbok wicket- keeper, for a duck, but was soon opening the bowling attack. In 1959/60 Wits ended second in the Premier League, with Barlow topping the batting averages on 29,32, and Ray White second on 25,69. In December 1961 Barlow became the first Wits student and player to win his Springbok cricket colours when he took the field against New Zealand at the Kingsmead, the first of 40 Tests. Ray White, for his part, later went on to play for Transvaal and later still to serve as President of the United Cricket Board of South Africa (1998-2000).
The sixties was very much the era of John Landau as chairman of Wits cricket—he was chairman from 1961 to 1967— with its highlight being the 1963/4 season when Wits won the Premier League and were joint winners of the SA Universities tournament in 1963. The stars were the all-rounder and captain Don Mackay-Coghill, who developed into a highly successful opening bowler for Transvaal, Tony Vorster, with a league batting average of 45,7, and Wilfred ‘Goofy’ Reich with 60 league wickets at 17,37. In the next season Wits ended up second to Wanderers, whom they had to beat outright in the final game, at Wits, to retain the league title. Landau ordered a damp wicket, and the ground staff responded by watering the wicket on Saturday morning, producing a swampy wicket for the next day. The only way the Wanderers players could be persuaded to proceed with the game was by using a different, unprepared wicket, and they duly thrashed the Wits team.
In what must be a record, Peter de Vaal, Transvaal opening batsman and left-arm spinner, played as a student for Wits for twelve seasons (1964-77)—he studied accounting--and was awarded a full blue in eight successive seasons (1970-77). In 1971 he became the second Wits student player to be selected for South Africa, but he never took the field as a Springbok as the 1971/2 South African tour of Australia was cancelled following the Vorster Government’s refusal to allow the inclusion of any black players—in the Cabinet’s decision the team had to be ‘slegs ’n blanke span’. The 21-year long exclusion of South Africa from Test cricket had begun. In De Vaal’s time Wits’ main successes were at intervarsity, where they shared the title in 1966 and 1968 and won it outright in 1970 and 1974. In 1966 Mackay-Coghill was captain, and he along with Harold Hester and Elton Chatterton played in the SAU side that defeated Transvaal outright. In 1968 Albie During, who played for Transvaal, was selected SAU captain—he was later to become CEO of Transvaal cricket. In 1970 Pat Flanagan, Transvaal all-rounder for more than a decade, was captain, and was likewise selected as captain for the SAU XI. In 1974 De Vaal was captain, and was also selected as SAU captain. In league cricket Wits was generally competitive, but won only one senior competition—with De Vaal as captain they won the Transvaal League Cup in 1973/4, a competition for the top six teams of the previous season.
An unsettled period for Wits cricket followed under the captaincy and chairmanship of Neville Wright, who played for Transvaal. In 1978 he led Wits to victory at the annual intervarsity—for only the second time Wits scored 5 straight wins at the tournament—and Wright and Noel Day both played for the SAU side that beat Western Province, Wright scoring 97 on his first class debut and Day 55 as SAU chased down 500 runs in their second innings. But in league cricket Wits generally struggled, ending last in the Premier League in both 1980/1 and 1981/2.
Two major developments helped turn the fortunes of Wits league cricket around—I emphasise league cricket as the club never again rivalled the SAU achievements of the Wits teams of the 1970s, never again winning the tournament. The first development was the foundation of a professional Sports Administration, with John Baxter appointed as head in 1980, with a small staff of sports officers to assist clubs manage their affairs. The sports officer responsible for cricket was Jonty Winch, who proved outstanding. The second development was the arrangement the Transvaal Cricket Council entered into with the English county Kent whereby a promising young professional might spend an off-season or two playing and coaching in the Transvaal. That young professional was allocated to Wits, the club of fellow youngsters. The first of these Kent professionals to arrive was the all-rounder Richard Ellison, whose batting and bowling—he headed the Wits averages in both—and overall guidance helped Wits to fifth place in the 1982/3 Premier League. He returned for a second season in 1983/4.
It was at this lucky juncture that I joined the Wits cricket club as chairman, having been recruited by the Sports Administration intent on getting academic staff more involved in Wits sport. A word about myself. I came to Wits in 1970 as senior lecturer in History, having lectured previously at Rhodes University, where I had been an undergraduate in the late fifties. While lecturing at Rhodes I played cricket for the Grahamstown team, Albany, in the Albany league, a country districts competition. I was a specialist slip fielder and specialist No 11 batsman—it was my job to block out for a draw when all else had been lost, a task I greatly enjoyed. The opposition would rub their hands with glee when they saw me coming into bat, only to become frustrated whenever my partner and I held out, with the bowling getting wilder and wilder as a result, so that one did not even have to block, simply letting the balls sail harmlessly by. At Wits I became organiser and captain of the staff cricket team. It was when I retired from staff cricket that I joined the student club as chairman.
My first season as chairman, 1983/4, was a stunning success for the club, thanks not to me but to Richard Ellison. My only contribution was during the November exam period when I managed to persuade the well-groomed Dean of Law, Louise Tager, of the immense importance of cricket to the reputation of the University and that it was essential to grant an extension in one of the exams to a couple of our players as they could not play on Sunday if they had to study for an exam on Monday. Wits famously won the ‘double’ that season, capturing both the Sunday League (limited overs) and the Dion Premier League (played over a Saturday afternoon and a Sunday). This was a unique achievement—no other club had won the ‘double’ before—and it was exactly twenty years after Wits had last won the Premier League. It was a win against Zoo Lake at Zoo Lake that sealed the Premier League with a game to spare. The game was played on matting, as the turf wicket was still wet after rain, and the Wits batsmen lived in fear and dread of facing the West Indian speedster Hartley Allayne in such conditions. He slipped and fell when bowling his first ball and refused to continue. After the game the scorer came up to me and said the boys had invited her to join them in the showers—I retorted she was an adult capable of making her own decisions, and with that she was off in a flash. Ellison’s all-round contribution was huge—547 runs at an average of 68.3 and 44 wickets at an average of 10.2 in the Premier League—but more than that he inspired a new sense of self-belief in the team, resulting in some good contributions from a range of players. Craig Benadie provided excellent captaincy, Raj Patel (tragically killed in a motor car accident the following year), Andy Rosselli and Bruce McBride all excelled with the bat, and Paul Botha and Steve Lurie with the ball. McBride as wicket-keeper and the leg-spinner Kevin Kerr both made appearances for Transvaal.
This was a lucky point for Wits cricket during this period. A number of our players were knocking on the door for provincial selection for at least the Transvaal B team, but never quite made it. I once got rapped over the knuckles for complaining that Paul Botha was being badly treated, and Ellison resented not being given a chance for Transvaal. But the fact is that Transvaal cricket was immensely strong—this was the age of the mean machine—and the only way Wits could excel was by having our best players turn out for Wits rather than Transvaal.
For the next season, 1984/5, there was no Ellison, who had graduated to the England team, going on to play a central role in England winning the Ashes in 1985, and he was replaced by the Kent fast bowler Chris Penn. The captain was Bruce McBride. At one stage Wits was in the running to win the treble, with the introduction of the Benson and Hedges day/night limited overs competition, but in the end had to settle for a share of the Sunday League title with Wanderers A, and runners-up in both the Premier League and the Benson and Hedges.
At this juncture the Kent connection was replaced by the Warwickshire connection, with the medium-pacer Dean Hoffman serving as coach in 1985/6, succeeded by another medium-pacer Tim Munton in 1986/7. Munton followed in Ellison’s footsteps, going on to play for England, thereby enabling Wits cricket to claim a hand in producing two English internationals. Munton claimed a hand in producing a future Proteas Test and ODI player, Steve Elworthy, who began developing his fast-bowling skills at Wits. Steve is now Marketing Manager for the England and Wales Cricket Board. In league cricket under the Warwickshire coaches, with Bruce McBride as captain, Wits remained highly competitive, but lacked the consistency to win any titles. Henry Parrymore and Paul Botha impressed with the ball, and McBride with the bat.
One of my tasks as chairman was to accompany the Wits team as manager for the annual intervarsity tournament in December. My last was in Bloemfontein in 1986, an event which has entered the folklore of Wits cricket. I drove so as to have a car available during the tournament. The team travelled by overnight train, departing Sunday evening and arriving early Monday morning, just hours before their first game. Late on the Sunday afternoon they secured an exciting outright victory over Wanderers at the stadium—they won off the second last ball of the game when a snicked ball was fumbled in the slips, with four or five Wits players thereupon falling over the ball and claiming a catch. There was no time to shower if they were to catch the train. They were prohibited from carrying much by way of liquor onto the train but resorted to smuggling the stuff, mainly cheap stuff like Old Brown sherry, in Colgate shampoo bottles. The result was chaos and not much by way of sleep. When the train arrived in Bloemfontein early in the morning Nick Rhodes toppled off it onto the tracks rather than the platform, and had to be hauled up. He and two others were required to undergo a fitness test before the selection of the team to play UCT—as he could not run straight (he zig-zagged all over the place) he was failed, whereupon he burst into tears. At lunch time he was found fast asleep under a tree. Not surprisingly, Wits lost the game.
After the 1986/7 season I retired as chairman in order to take up a visiting fellowship at Queen’s University in Canada with Rob Sharman, production manager in the Wits theatre and a Premier League umpire, succeeding as chairman, a position he held for the next 11 years. As chairman Rob devoted an enormous amount of his time and energy to Wits cricket, which truly enjoyed a golden age under his direction.
One of the most glorious days of his early tenure was a Friday at the end of the 1988 Stellenbosch intervarsity when Wits, captained by fast bowler Ian Benning, faced a Free State team that included the top three batsmen from the province’s Currie Cup team, among them Hansie Cronje. Batting first Free State fell to the bowling of Richard Snell, Steven Jack and Trevor Webster, with Webster taking 5/16. Facing a target of only 56 Wits proceeded to wrap up the game an hour before lunch. Early in the Free State innings, with the score at 29/1, their coach, Corrie van Zyl, had headed off to the butcher to collect the meat for the lunch-time braai, only to find no players around when he returned. He went ballistic when he found out from Bruce McBride, the Wits coach, what had happened—it was also a nightmare for the tournament organizers, who always dreaded early finishes on the final day, the day of the tournament dinner. The Wits squad was duly invited to join Nick Finneron, the official representative of the sponsors, NedFin Bank, for a cheese and wine lunch under the oaks at the Lanzerac Hotel. My sources diverge at this point—Rob Sharman remembers they all went along to the Lanzerac while some players remember remaining in the change-room attached to their fines meeting for the next five hours. Both make good stories.
In 1993/4 Wits again won the double, with James Teeger as captain and St John’s College schoolmaster, Peter Habberton, as coach—Habberton is currently Regional Director of the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa.. Rob’s chairmanship coincided with the return of South Africa to official international cricket, and four of his players proceeded to represent South Africa, a proud record for any club. Mandy Yachad and Richard Snell were included in the first-ever South African team to visit India—this was the historic short tour in November 1991 to contest a 3 match ODI series, with Rob Sharman and myself as part of the South African support group—and Richard went on to represent South Africa at its first-ever World Cup, in Australia in 1992, and to make his Test debut in South Africa’s first ever Test against the West Indies. Steven Jack, Richard’s partner in opening the Wits bowling in the early 1990s, and Adam Bacher, also went on to play Test match cricket for South Africa.
Another major accomplishment of Rob’s was the institution of the Walter Milton memorial game, an annual tussle between the Wits Old Boys and Wits students to commemorate the club’s president back in the fifties, who was also president of the Hockey Club for some thirty years and president of Convocation.. The Old Boys were immediately attracted to the game as a mechanism for bringing them back together again and reliving the past—not least the fines meetings--and it is remarkable how loyal the players of the eighties and nineties proved to the game—so much so that a second game had to be set up to cater for all those who wanted to play. The thrill for the students was the opportunity to play against the stars of yester-year—some even got a kick out of Steven Jack hitting them deep into the soccer stadium.
In the late 1990s the standard of Wits cricket fell off badly.. With Wits suddenly languishing near the bottom of the Gauteng Premier League, Rob retired (exhausted) and I took over for a second spell as chairman. My sports officer was Ebrahim Boomgaard, who attributed the decline of Wits cricket to the onset of professionalism. Boomgaard was engaged in recruiting from the schools, and according to him the perception prevailing among young cricketers was that they did not require a tertiary education as they could make a living from cricket. When I last saw Graham Smith a couple of years ago I half-jocularly asked whether, now that he had retired from cricket, he regretted not having accepted the bursary we offered him to study and play cricket at Wits once he matriculated from KES, he simply laughed.
To help restore Wits cricket to its former glory I took two fundamental steps on resuming as chairman. The first--with the crucial assistance of Joe Pamensky--was to negotiate in 1999 a generous sponsorship deal with the stationers Croxley providing for bursaries, playing kit and scoreboards. Croxley remained our sponsors until the end of last season.
The second step was to persuade the former Springbok and then TV cricket commentator, Lee Irvine, to coach the senior players at Wits, which he did for the next five seasons. Lee, who played for South Africa as wicketkeeper/batsman in the famous 1970 series against Australia, the last before isolation, was convinced the talent was available to revive Wits cricket. There were the likes of wicketkeeper/batsman Matthew Street, who had captained the South African Under 19 team at the 1998 World Cup, Ryan Sierra, an aggressive batsman who had played for South African Schools, and Gareth Flusk, a left-arm seamer who represented Gauteng B. Next season Street, the all rounder John Buxton-Forman, and Proteas fast bowler David Terbrugge all represented the Highveld Strikers. Terbrugge, who enrolled at the Wits Business School, played two Tests for South Africa while at Wits.
Under Lee, who offered his charges excellent technical advice.and who was also a great motivator, Wits certainly became competitive again, qualifying for the semi-final of the Premier League, which had been divided into two sections, losing at that stage to Rand Afrikaans University. Lee’s ambition of winning the Premier League continued to prove elusive. He had particularly high hopes for the 2003/4 season but it was not to be, in part because Wits players were regularly called up for provincial duty. Matthew Street, Matthew Harris, Siraj Conrad, Patrick Thompson, and Blake Snijman all caught the eye of the selectors, and Garnett Kruger, the Proteas fast bowler who joined the club and who is now its coach, only played a couple of games for Wits due to provincial and international commitments followed by injury. ‘I believe having five provincial players and an international at one time is a real achievement for the WCC’, Lee commented, but added “This success ultimately proved to be something of a double-edged sword.’
In a game of musical chairs Rob Sharman took over as chairman for two seasons again following my retirement from Wits in 2001—I was elevated to club president—and Lee was succeeded by his son, Nick, as player-coach, followed by Chris Tomsek in 2006/7. That season Wits finally won another senior title, defeating Old Edwardians in the final of the one-day competition
After the one-day triumph of 2006/7 it was all bad news for Wits cricket with Wits being relegated a season later, mistakenly I believe, to the B section of the Premier League because of its consistently poor performance in that league. Policy up until now was that university teams should not be relegated—they were too valuable as ‘nurseries’ and were particularly vulnerable to swings of fortune given their ever-changing composition—but the new priority was to secure the place of teams of colour in the A section. That Wits fielded a mixed race team, that it was in the process of internal transformation, counted not at all; it was simply deemed a historically white or privileged club. Ironically, for a number of seasons Wits provided the Highveld Lions with their only home-bred African players in Eddie Leie and Pumi Matshekwe.
On the question of transformation it must be confessed the club’s record was patchy.
Since my joining the club as chairman in 1983 the university had undergone a massive transformation—in 1983 the student body was overwhelmingly white and middle class, today it is overwhelmingly black. The cricket club was slow to reflect this transformation. In the 1980s there were occasional players of colour such as Raj Patel (not a Wits student) and Danny Dada. By the time I became chairman for a second time there were three or four players of colour in the !st XI set-up, but there was no major recruiting programme to swell that number. There has been a major change since—with Cricket South Africa and University Sport South Africa laying down the criteria for transformation at intervarsities.
Ever since being relegated Wits has languished in the B section, finding it difficult to recruit talented players. There have been some notable exceptions, such as Nono Pongolo.and Farhaan Sayanvala, but recruiting has been difficult. Recent student protests have also helped make life difficult, disrupting the cricket season. Last season the 1st XI won the Gauteng T20 competition—hearty congratulations on that—but were a disappointing 7th in the Premier League B. We cannot continue like this. So far Adrian Carter and his team have done an excellent job in reviving the fortunes of a number of Wits sports, notably rugby, and it is time for cricket to be added to the list, with Garnett Kruger as coach.