THE NMMU Madibaz soccer team will shift their focus to the University Sports of South Africa (Ussa) national tournament after they lost to the University of Pretoria (Tuks) in the Varsity Football Challenge final in Pretoria on Monday.
The Ussa tournament will be held at Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria in December.
The PE team's dream of winning the inaugural Varsity Challenge were shattered when they went down 4-1 to Tuks. Madibaz coach Lukhanyo Wasa described the defeat as disappointing, but promised they would bounce back.
Madibaz won the 2011 Ussa title when the event was held at Limpopo University in Polokwane.
"We started the Varsity Football Challenge well," Wasa said. "But Tuks were a step ahead of us in terms of our planning. They identified our weaknesses and beat our gameplan with counter-attacks."
Despite the loss, Wasa said he was satisfied with the overall performance of the team.
"I'm proud of my charges because they showed commitment from the first game and their determination and talent proved to be fruitful because some Premier Soccer League (PSL) teams were desperate to assess some players.
"From our first game, we received calls from PSL teams inquiring about some of our players, but these boys are still academically enrolled and we won't finalise any deals at this stage."
Players like defenders Niven Kops and Kurt Duff, forwards Leroy van Rensburg and Claudius Sagandira, and midfielders Kieran Koert and Onneetse Leboifo have been targeted, but NMMU refused to name the PSL clubs interested.
"I can't make any decision now because I'm focusing on my studies," Kops, who won the award for the best goal of the Challenge, said.
"And I also want to help the team at the Ussa tournament."