NFD 2017/18 - WEEK 18 PREVIEW

ROYAL EAGLES v RICHARDS BAY

A KZN derby to start the weekend with two sides that appear to be coming into some form but still have plenty of work to do to escape the possibilities of slipping back into the relegation zone. Royal Eagles are the NFD’s leading scorers with Cosmos on 27 goals, but Eagles have also conceded the most – 30 goals. They sit just above the relegation zone and if coach Papic can tighten up his defence, Eagles can do well. Their opponent on Saturday have won their last 4 matches in league and cup by a 2 – 1 scoreline. The 3 league wins has taken the Richards Bay side off the bottom of the table and up to 12th. They are still only 3 points clear of the relegation zone however. An advantage for the home side is their 3 - 2win over Richards Bay in their own back yard in Round 6.  

STELLENBOSCH FC v MTHATHA BUCKS

Two sides that need a dramatic turnaround of form meet at Parow Park on Saturday. Stellenbosch FC led the NFD for 6 of the opening 8 weeks, but have won only one match in their last 11 outings and have slipped into the bottom half of the table. For the visitors, the story is even worse as they can slide no further down the log.  3rd in Round 6, Mthatha Bucks are now bottom of the log with also only 1 win in their last 11 matches. The last two outings have been draws for the Eastern Cape side and they showed character against Royal Eagles last week to fight from 1 – 3 down to secure a draw.

MBOMBELA UNITED FC v UNIVERSITY of PRETORIA

The tale of sides that lost last weekend continues with the match between Mbombela and Tuks. Mbombela lost at home to bottom side Ubuntu last week, while Tuks were also humbled at home. They lost 1 – 3 to NFD rookies Super Eagles. Tuks beat Mbombela 4 – 1 in Round 6 for the biggest win of the season, and despite recent poor form, are still in 4th position, only 4 points away from a place in the Promotional Playoffs. Mbombela are in 6th.

REAL KINGS v SUPER EAGLES

Real Kings have been a revelation this season and sit in 3rd spot on the log on the back of an unbeaten run of 4 matches. Super Eagles have had some good results this season, but are still only 4 points clear of the relegation zone with a worse goal difference than all of the teams below them, except for Mthatha Bucks. Eagles beat Kings 1 – 0 earlier in the season.

BLACK LEOPARDS v CT ALL STARS

Leopards have enjoyed an unbeaten start to 2018, but are 8th on the log and still have work to do to catch the leaders in the NFD. Their visitors All Stars are 2 places lower on the log and haven’t won in 4 outings. Both teams drew last weekend and played to a goalless draw when they met earlier in the season.  

UTHONGATHI FC v JOMO COSMOS

Sammy Troughton starts life as the new coach of Uthongathi on Saturday after the club released Ronnie Gabriel during the week. The KZN side could hardly ask for a tougher opponent to welcome the new coach. Having said that, although Jomo Cosmos are 2nd on the log, 23 of their 29 points have come from their unbeaten home record, with only one win posted on the road all season. Uthongathi have only picked up one win in their last 10 starts, and have slipped to 13th on the log, just 1 point above the relegation zone. The teams played to a 1 – 1 draw in Round 6.  

WITBANK SPURS v TSHAKHUMA TSHA MADZIHANDILA

Spurs might have won only once on the road this season, but they have lost only once at home and that was back in Round 5. The opponent for Saturday’s clash, TTM FC, continue to have an inconsistent season, winning one week then losing the next. Spurs climbed to 5th after their win over Uthongathi last week, while TTM FC drew with Leopards and are 2 places lower than their hosts on the log. The teams played to a 2 – 2 draw in Round 6.   

UBUNTU CT FC v HIGHLANDS PARK

Long time logleaders will be wary of the home side when they travel to the Cape to meet an improving Ubuntu CT FC in Sunday’s only clash. Highlands have gone 12 matches unbeaten and lead the NFD by 5 points. The Lions of the North also beat the Cape 1 – 0 in Tembisa in Round 6. However, Ubuntu are unbeaten in 2018 having beaten both the Mpumalanga side 2 – 1 since the break. There is still, plenty of work to do for the home side though as they are still in the relegation zone and have been for the past 13 weeks.