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New recruits, fresh approach help seal USSA football deal New recruits, fresh approach help seal USSA football deal
The Madibaz women’s football team reaped the benefits of discipline and meticulous planning to gain promotion to the University Sports South Africa A-section last... New recruits, fresh approach help seal USSA football deal

The Madibaz women’s football team reaped the benefits of discipline and meticulous planning to gain promotion to the University Sports South Africa A-section last week.

Although a courageous Mandela University outfit went down 1-0 to NWU-Mafikeng in the B-section final in Cape Town, they did enough to qualify for the top tier in 2024.

The men’s side from the Gqeberha varsity maintained their A-section status.

Promotion had been a clear goal and achieving it was a dream come true for football manager Mark Tommy and young coach Karabo Madimola, who was also named the section’s coach of the tournament.

“After the Sasol League [in August] we reset the women’s programme as we looked ahead to the USSAs,” Tommy recounted the plan to make amends for a disappointing tournament in Secunda last year.

This allowed the technical team under his and head coach Elrio van Heerden’s stewardship plenty of time for review.

Recognising the technical ability of Madimola, a strategic decision was made to draft him into the coaching team with the brief of rebuilding the women’s programme in preparation for the year-end tertiary competition.

A football derivative played in the Campus League, Futsal, became his scouting and recruitment space and those who caught the eye were subjected to a rigorous training protocol alongside squad members to get ready for the Mother City.

Tommy believed this approach, combined with a team culture based on discipline and application, had been crucial in them achieving the desired results.

Madimola impressed his senior colleagues with his application in ensuring cohesion among his charges, which included enforcing time management objectives and going the extra mile.

The Madibaz were unbeaten in their pool games, including a significant goalless draw against NWU-Mafikeng courtesy of a saved penalty by goalkeeper Naledi Mnagope.

Then they overcame Sol Plaatjie University 3-1 in the semis to proceed to the final.

“It was a pulsating match and although we went down, it could have gone either way,” Tommy said.

It was marked by volatile emotions and a fair bit of anxiety but the work by Madimola and assistant Sphe Gwala was evident as the team fought to the bitter end.

“This is a validation of the Madibaz football strategy to grow its timber by focusing on student growth and development beyond the playing field,” Tommy said.

He also praised captain Ongezi Mxoxozi, who led from the front on and off the field in her final USSA appearance.

“Her performances were excellent, mature and passionate. She played all the matches, which is a testament to her fitness and desire to lead and win.”

She was “a soldier with superb technical qualities” who could swing a game, he said.

News desk

News desk writes, collates and publishes relevant news for Yiba.

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