Having missed out on qualification last year, the University of Johannesburg have re-focused as they bid for Varsity Football redemption from July 18.
The UJ team were runners-up to University of Pretoria in the 2014 tournament and not playing last year will have hurt their pride.
Soccer club manager Joel Kgokong said the whole squad, from the players to the technical staff and management, were determined to fly the varsity flag high.
He said the club have undergone a number of changes since 2014, with less than 20 per cent of the squad of two years ago still with them.
Former assistant coach Mandla Zwane has taken over as head coach and he will receive assistance from U19 team mentor Benjamin Khubeka.
“The players, technical staff and management are determined to perform better than in 2014,” said Kgokong, as he outlined their preparations for this year’s run at the trophy.
“Since we qualified for this year’s tournament we have intensified our preparations and re-aligned our performance strategies in our bid to win the title.”
He said they had also increased their playing resources, which had achieved the desired effect.
“A bigger squad have created much-needed competition among the players and assisted with replacements in case of injuries.”
Kgokong said the decision proved to be a good one as the team went on to finish stronger in the SAB League season.
They also won the Joburg Cup in June and the Federation of Africa University Sports (Fasu) Football tournament this month.
He did not single out any players as he looked ahead to the start of Varsity Football, saying every member had an important role to perform.
Even though they faced a tough opener against North-West University Mafikeng, whom he identified as serious contenders, Kgokong said they would be looking for a strong start to the competition.
“It is very important to make a winning start as it will position the team well in the table to challenge for the play-offs.
“It also sends a message to the other teams that we are in it to win it.”