NFD 2017/18 - WEEK 15 PREVIEW


Highlands Park continue to enjoy a very successful season so far and will end 2017 on top of the NFD standings win, draw or lose to CT All Stars on Saturday. The Lions of the North have beaten the Cape side both times All Stars have played in Tembisa without conceding a goal. Both sides won in the Nedbank Cup Qualifiers in midweek with Highlands edging Real Kings in a tight scrap while All Stars blitzed TTM FC 2 – 0 with both sides playing at home. The home side have gone 10 matches unbeaten.


Richards Bay picked up a confidence boosting win when they beat Spurs in Witbank in the Nedbank Cup qualifiers in midweek. Leopards on the other hand conceded three goals against Super Eagles to bow out of the competition. This encounter pitches coach Jean Losciuto against his former club. The home side have gone 9 matches without a win in the NFD and have failed to score in their last 5 league outings. Leopards on the other hand are unbeaten in their last 4 league encounters, but will have to put the loss against Eagles out of their minds on Saturday. Last season the teams drew home and away.           


With both Mbombela and Uthongathi both out of the Nedbank Cup, they can focus on their NFD campaigns. Mbombela are 4th on the log with their KZN visitors 7 places behind in 11th. While picking up some impressive results, there have been bad ones too in a season that still shows inconsistency for the home side. Uthongathi have posted only one win in their last 7 NFD appearances, and have not won on the road this season yet. They are 6 points clear of the relegation battle. This will be the first meeting between the two sides.


While Spurs lost at home to Richards Bay FC in the Nedbank Cup Qualifiers, Stellenbosch FC walloped Mbombela 3 – 0. Those results might not be the decider in the outcome of this match however, as Spurs have never lost to the Cape side in 6 meetings in Witbank, posting 3 wins and 3 draws. Added to that equation – Spurs are unbeaten in their last 7 NFD outings and while the last 5 of those have been draws, Spurs have only conceded 3 goals in that time. The Cape side are doing better at home than on the road and their last win away from home came in late September.


TTM FC were bounced out of the Nedbank Cup 2 – 0 by All Stars in midweek, while Eagles clobbered Leopards 3 – 0 in Bethlehem. Not only did the Limpopo side lose in the cup, but were thrashed 5 – 1 by Kings last weekend. Despite recent results the TTM FC have only lost once at home all season. Eagles are yet to win on the road this season, posting 3 draws and 3 losses. This will be the first meeting between the two sides.


Tuks were humbled 3 – 0 by Royal Eagles in Nedbank Cup Qualification, in a result that might indicate their intention of concentrating on winning the NFD title. The side from the capital have every reason to belive that they can go all the way to the PSL, having been in the top three on the log since round 4. Real Kings lost 1 – 2 away to Highlands Park in a hard fought encounter in the same competition in midweek, but hammered TTM FC 5- 1 in the NFD last weekend. The teams met last season for the first time, playing to a 2 – 2 in Pretoria.       


Both Eagles and Ubuntu posted victories in Nedbank Cup Qualifying matches in midweek. Eagles hammered Tuks 3 – 0 while Ubuntu won on penalties over Cosmos after ending extra time level at 1 – 1. Despite their win in the Cup in midweek, Eagles haven’t won in the NFD for the past 7 outings and have only 2 wins the whole season. Kostadin Papic has returned to Harry Gwala and time will tell whether he can get his side away from the relegation zone. Ubuntu scraped off the bottom of the log for the first time in 9 weeks after their draw last weekend in the NFD with Uthongathi. A win for the visitors will see Eagles back in the relegation zone, while an Eagles win could see the KZN side create some daylight back to the drop zone.


A timely win in the Nedbank Cup for Bucks and new coach Lechesa might well be the boost the Eastern Cape side need to end the unbeaten home league record of Cosmos on Sunday. Bucks beat Uthongathi 2 – 1 in the Nedbank Cup Qualifiers - a result which saw Erasmus score for the first time since 23 September. Cosmos might have lost in the cup to Ubuntu on penalties, but have gone7 matches unbeaten at home in NFD competition, scoring 17 goals and conceding just 5. Cosmos have never lost to Bucks and beat the Eastern Cape side 1 – 0 at home last season. Bucks have not won in 6 league outings, dropping from 5th to 13th during that period.