Following a disappointing 2019 season for FNB TUT, the Vikings are determined to continue as they started the 2020 FNB Varsity Shield season, when they face FNB CUT at home on Friday night.
TUT played in the first five seasons of FNB Varsity Cup, but have largely underperformed since dropping down into the second tier back in 2013 – even having to survive a relegation playoff against NWU's Vaal-based side in 2014. However, under the mentorship of their new head coach Kaya Malotana, the Vikings have undergone a change in the team’s playing style and the mentality in the dressing room.
TUT's second team coach Dumisani Mthethwa, has been part of that behind-the-scenes revolution, and told varsitycup.co.za how they've gone about bringing about positive change in the wake of tried and tested players reaching the eligiblity age of 25 or graduating.
“We are a strong team and we have a strong culture that helps bring players together," Mthethwa said.
"Our philosophy is that teammates are brothers in an army who fight for each other with one goal, therefore we are fearless and ready to fight for our institution.”
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Facts unfortunately don't lie, and for that reason TUT will need more than just the hard-fought 7-3 win over FNB Rhodes to prove that they canmake the Varsity Shield (which they have only done once in their seven seasons in the second tier), never mind edge the likes of FNB Madibaz, FNB CPUT or FNB WSU to promotion. Mthethwa speaks confidently though.
“Our main goal is to be promoted to the Varsity Cup platform and we also want to win all our matches to stand a chance of winning the title”
Considering the riches of talent up-north, TUT would be assumed to have a decent pick. However, the Vikings are well aware of the pecking order and the need for them to work hard and smart to achive success.
“It is a major challenge for us as Tuks has a good image with a good reputation. When you talk about Tuks, players are thinking about Bulls so if they play for UP, they stand a good chance of being recognised by Bulls. I’d also like to emphasise that in order to attract good players, you need to offer them something," Mthethwa revealed.
"At present, we are at a building phase to grow and polish the talent of young players. So if we can manage to succeed in that department, we’ll have talented players and we’ll have a winning team and we all know that a winning team attracts good players.”
FNB TUT will be eager to register their second win of the season at home on Friday against against defending FNB CPUT, who will be smarting after their surpise Round 1 defeat at home against FNB WSU. Entry is free at the TUT Stadium and gates will open at 18:15.