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Following UP’s sudden exit from the VarsityFootball tournament, Perdeby spoke to UP captain and centre-back Simbongile Njokwe to review the season, gain some understanding of their downfall, and reassure fans of their comeback in the next season of VarsityFootball.
What have been the greatest contributing factors to UP missing out on the semi-final of the Varsity Cup?
I honestly think we were not consistent as a team. We lost matches that we were supposed to win. As the captain I failed the team, therefore we did not get through to semi-finals.
How has the team been dealing with the disappointment of missing out on the Varsity Cup title?
Obviously we wanted to win this tournament, and unfortunately things did not go our way. We were all sad and disappointed, but I can tell you the guys have accepted the loss and we have moved on.
What do you believe can be learnt from this season’s highs and lows?
Learning to work together as a team and be consistent in our performance is one of the things I believe we took out from the tournament.
What needs to be worked on in the off season to ensure that the team keeps on growing and comes back stronger next season?
Firstly, we are going to be working on making sure we score goals and convert most of our opportunities. There were a few matches that we did not do well in simply because of missing the target. Secondly, we will be working on defending well. We allowed teams to score simple goals which I believe should have been dealt with.
What was the most memorable part of the season for the team?
That 9-1 win against the University of Fort Hare. We broke a record [in that game]. What makes me happy is that the supporters were happy. That’s what I liked. Without them we are nothing.
How would you describe your experience of being captain this season?
I honestly think I did not meet the expectations and goals I had for myself as a leader of the team. UP is known for winning, therefore I did not represent it well. On the other hand my teammates were supportive and willing to work with me and took my instructions well. I always say it is easy to lead UP because the guys have good values and morals. They show a lot of respect and work hard.
Is there anything you would like to tell the UP Varsity Cup supporters?
To the UP supporters, on behalf of the team we apologise for not delivering the cup to you. God-willing, we will next year. We will try our best to make you all proud. Without you we cannot do it. We will really need you all to rally behind us. We love you.