Star performance for UFH staff sport in Africa
19th December 2016 saw the University of Fort Hare staff team crowned as champions of Southern African Universities Staff Sport Association (SAUSSA) hosted by the University of Swaziland. SAUSSA is an inter-university staff sport association in the Southern African region where numerous universities participates. SAUSSA’s vision as an association is to unify and promote social cohesion, sports and recreation but more importantly, to create mutual friendship and professional relations among member universities.
Fort Hare made its debut last year - 2016 - in Maseru and within a year they have proved a super power in the world of sports putting in an overzealous effort to conquer the regional prize.The University of Fort Hare consisted of two teams, the netball and soccer teams. The soccer team kicked off the tournament with a 2-0 victory over their neighbours, Walter Sisulu University. A fixture highly anticipated to be a blockbuster as these two bulls are known to put up a fierce duel every time they meet in the arena. Next, the boys were held in a frustrating goalless draw by Lesotho after which they destroyed Zimbabwe 4-0 and topped their group in the group stages. They then faced another team from Zimbabwe in the quarter finals and won the game on a penalty shootout after yet another goalless game under the scorching conditions of Swaziland. Later the same day, they were awaited by their biggest and toughest encounter of the entire tournament when they took on Zambia. This was a special game for the UFH team because in the previous year (SAUSSA games 2015 in Lesotho) they had suffered defeat at the hands of this great team and the boys were looking to avenge themselves. With a game expected to be the main event of the tournament, highly anticipated by the spectators to bring the house down, it lived up to and fulfilled every expectation by dropping every fan’s jaw. The boys fought hard against the defending champions and it was by far the most open game with both sides viciously attacking and defenders and goal keepers having the longest of the 90 minutes. Eventually, the boys sealed the deal and won the game on penalty shootouts. In the final they faced Lesotho and having failed to beat them in the group stages, they dismantled them, securing their title and were crowned the champions of SAUSSA 2016 after an incredible football display ending in a 2-0 result in favour of the University of Fort Hare.
The ladies also had an impressive run and won all their games after having proved too strong for other teams. First match University of Fort Hare locked horns with the University of Botswana, a game that ended in a score line of 10-12 in favour of UFH. Their second match saw them coming up against the University of Zambia and once again, UFH sealed the deal comfortably in a 9-22 result in their favour. The fairy tale impressive streak continued even on the third match between UFH and Zimbabwe University of Technology with the game ending in 7-29 in favour of UFH. Unfortunately, their dynamite winning streak was brought to an agonising end by their country neighbour University, WSU. Their encounter was, as always, expected to be an exciting high tempo game filled with fast paced passing of the ball accompanied by sharp twists and turns. Unfortunately, the ladies lost in the semi-finals 13-16 but their boys cheered them on with vibrantly loud singing that saw other participants joining the song, a symbol of sports as a unifying factor. A truly exciting game was brought to an end with the results in favour of their opponents. However, our ladies held their heads high as they played like true champions. Fort Hare University will host the 2017 SAUSSA games later in the year.
By Mzuvukile Mcayiya