UFH - Women's Football - Sasol Women's League - Nosikho Magqaza (FSC)

They came, they scored, they conquered – today Fort Hare’s women are the toast of tertiary football in the Eastern Cape.

The Sasol Women’s League coastal stream champions swept aside inland winners Executive Ladies 4-1 in Komani this afternoon to qualify for the national playoffs for the first time.

If they continue their form there, they will find themselves in the top-flight Hollywoodbets Super League, where giants of the game like Mamelodi Sundowns hold sway.

“I can’t explain the joy I have in my heart,” coach Asanda Mnakaniso said after the match. “The girls delivered.

“We knew that facing World Cup players like Wendy Shongwe in the Varsity Football tournament would boost our confidence – and it did.”

Fort Hare’s emphatic win came on the back of goals by Sinayo Kupiso, Nizole Ngece and a late brace by Nosikho Magqaza.

The latter has been nothing short of phenomenal in the Sasol league, scoring 16 goals in 17 matches, the highest number in the EC section of the tournament.

Ngece has been close on her heels, finding the back of the net on no fewer than 14 occasions.

UFH - Women's Football - Sasol Women's League - Nosikho Magqaza (FSC)

Nosikho Magqaza’s goal-scoring spree continued as she netted a brace in Fort Hare’s 4-1 victory over Executive Ladies in the Sasol Women’s League Eastern Cape playoff in Komani on Saturday. Photo: Full Stop Communications

Mnakaniso attributed the women’s success to match fitness. They have played a number of games of late, including those against Gqeberha’s City Lads and the four Varsity Football encounters.

“The girls are so happy. They wanted this win so badly, as last season we ended up second in the coastal stream and third in the province.

“This year the aim was to reach the provincial playoffs and see where it takes us.”

The ladies were determined not to disappoint UFH’s sports department given the support they had received.

The dean had been in attendance in Komani and sports officer Sibabalo Feni had been a rock, the coach said.

“We had to do this for ourselves, for the university, for our department and the parents of the girls at home.

“I just want to thank the parents for their support and trusting us with their kids.

“I am also grateful to our men’s football coaches and their players for their support. We did this together,” Feni said.

The team will take a two-week break to focus on their academics as they have been “kicking a ball since February”.

They will be back at the end of the month to focus on the national playoffs.

It has been an incredible year of firsts for Mnakaniso’s charges: the first time they have won the coastal stream, reached the provincial playoffs and won them.

Their record in the coastal stream was something to behold as well. They won 15 of their 16 games with only a draw denying them a full house of victories.

This season Fort Hare became only the second EC team ever to play in women’s Varsity Football.

Despite half of their players unavailable due to tournament age limits, the Alice-based varsity gave a credible account of themselves in their first outing, drawing two matches and losing two.