UJ crowned 2019 Varsity Basketball Champions
No one could stop the Orange Team’s march to victory against the UP-Tuks’ basketball team, whom they defeated 64-57 in the Varsity Basketball final at Wits in Johannesburg on Sunday, 13 October 2019. The Orange Team of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) were relentless. They showed great determination and surged ahead of their rivals in the last quarter. Trailing 55-50 with just five minutes left, UJ made use of their power play to seize the advantage, staying ahead until the final whistle blew. And, having won the University Sport South Africa (USSA) title earlier this year, this memorable victory confirmed the Orange Team’s dominant status in basketball. Coach and UJ mentor, Mandla Ngema, was both delighted and relieved when the match ended. “It is always difficult to play as favourites because there is a lot of pressure on us and we also put pressure on ourselves. But for the guys to pull it through in the end when we were behind for most of the match is a great feeling.” Ngema acknowledged the tough challenge which UP-Tuks
had presented under coach George Makena.
teammates [we must] just keep our heads up and focus on closing the gap basket by basket,” said Chikore. Captain Trystan Speck, who described the game as being a tense final, summed up the team’s emotions when he said the result was “just overwhelming”. “I really have no words for what I’m feeling at the moment,” he said in the post-match interview. “The team has worked really hard throughout the year and this second week of Varsity Basketball was tough, but we managed to come through. “Congratulations to UP-Tuks for making it a final to remember and I also want to thank all our fans for their fantastic support this year,” said Speck.
The title was a dream come true for UJ star Lance Chikore, who was voted the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “I’m so happy because we have been working towards this the whole year and I am very proud of my teammates and what they have put into their games. “Last year was a tough season for us and this Varsity Basketball has been a hard challenge, but we are just grateful to have come through in the end,” said Chikore. Chikore said he had urged the team to stay focused until the end. “I believe everything is about hard work and being strong in the mind. Although they were up, I told my
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