After some near-misses, the University of Johannesburg are motivated to make an impact in the Varsity Football tournament this season.
With three matches having been played, they have placed themselves in a good position, being second on the log after two wins and a draw.
They defeated their arch-rivals Wits 2-1 on Thursday and UJ soccer manager Joel Kgokong said there was a strong focus on doing well this year.
“We are tired of making the semifinals and sometimes losing in the final [UJ were runners-up in 2016], so the aim is to go all the way,” he said.
“We have several players with a fair amount of experience because they have been part of Varsity Football since 2014.
“They form the core of the team and understand the dynamics of Varsity Football and what we need to do to make sure we are in with a chance of winning.”
He added that under sports scientist Sereeta Miles they had put in place an intensive conditioning programme.
“Maintaining fitness is one of the challenges we have had,” added Kgokong.
“You don’t normally compete in a tournament [such as USSA] where you play seven matches in five days and avoid injuries.
“But that’s what we have managed to achieve and Sereeta has been able to get the players to peak fitness for the next tournament – Varsity Football.”
Even though they were among the early frontrunners, Kgokong said they would not be looking further ahead than the next match.
UJ are up against University of KwaZulu-Natal – who won the USSA title earlier this year – in Durban on Thursday.
“We are not in a rush and do not think we are going to beat everyone else. For each match we have a plan in place and make sure that we come out with at least a point, or preferably three.
“If we can do that, once we reach match five we will be on track to secure a spot in the semifinals.”