Uni Football Rising Out of the Pits

Uni Football Rising Out of the Pits

People still play sports here?

University football has pulled itself out of a hole after slashing through both men’s and women’s University of Canterbury teams in a pre-season derby. Now the club is talking a big game, with men’s captain Ben Campbell telling Critic Te Ārohi, “Anything short of the top of the table is considered a failure.” Big words from a man who finished 7th out of 10 teams last season. 

The OUAFC women’s team won their game 3-1 after a few “tactical fouls to stop the score progressing.” This result was not surprising considering the women were in the Southern league last year, a competition which covers the entire South Island. The men, on the other hand, were in the Dunedin league, and at the bottom of it for that matter. Only four years ago, the club had the chance at joining the women in the league when it was first established, bailing out after realising that their coach didn’t have the proper licence — oop. Sinking to the slums of the Dunedin league and then slumping even further to the bottom of that league, the boys have not been humming. 

That is, until Saturday March 16th, when OUAFC men’s beat UC 3-1 (eerily the same score as the women’s), downing a team an entire league above them. In true David vs Goliath fashion, OUAFC scored three in the first half and held out doggedly until the final whistle blew. After the game ended, Critic Te Ārohi witnessed team members exiting the changing rooms, holding only 9-12 Speights as opposed to the 24 they had upon entering. The rate at which those Speights were downed shows you the pure froth coming out of camp OUAFC at the moment.

Now the men’s team is talking a big game, hoping to match the women’s team with a Southern league promotion. Men’s captain Ben Campbell told Critic, “UC are a really tough team, so it was great to grab a result for both the women’s and men’s team.” 

Coyly, he added that “it’s hard to say where we’ll finish considering we have both a new coach and a handful of new players. While the team “have only just begun playing together,” Ben said he thought “this is the strongest team we’ve had in years.”

But it’s not going to be easy. Whispers have it that Northern AFC, another staunch student associated football club, also have their eyes on the prize, bringing in a number of imported players to achieve the goal. Critic Te Ārohi also noticed that there were three BMWs at Northern’s most recent game, inciting speculation from local pundits that some team members may be on triple figure salaries. 

On the potential brewing tension, Ben said, “I wouldn’t say [it’s a] rivalry, but Northern are a very consistent side who seem to be in good form at the moment. They got the best of us both times last season, so hopefully we can bounce back this year.

This article first appeared in Issue 5, 2024.
Posted 4:28pm Saturday 23rd March 2024 by Hugh Askerud.