NFD 2017/18 - WEEK 20 PREVIEW

WITBANK SPURS v REAL KINGS

Championship challenging Real Kings will hope to keep their momentum going when they visit Witbank on Saturday. The KZN side are unbeaten in 6 outings and are also 6 points behind logleaders Highlands. Having sold Mondli Miya, Luckyboy Mokoena and Spesihle Nzimande during the transfer window it will be interesting to see how coach Dladla balances his side. Spurs beat Kings at home last season and came close to beating Cosmos last week in Vosloorus. Spurs have lost Sabelo Nyembe, Slovo Mrawu, Tshepiso Lietsisa and Marvin Skosana, but signed Edmore Sibanda from Caps Utd and re-signed Cleophas Dube.

UNIVERSITY of PRETORIA v JOMO COSMOS

Neither Tuks nor Cosmos have been impressive in 2018 with the both sides failing to post a win in 4 outings this year. Tuks have lost 3 and drawn 1 while Cosmos have drawn 2 and lost 2. Both are still in the hunt for honours this season though, with Tuks 4 points outside the playoff place and Cosmos in 3rd on the log. Cosmos hammered Tuks 5 – 0 in round 2 at home, but have only won once in 6 meetings in Pretoria.

TSHAKHUMA TSHA MADZIHANDILA v MTHATHA BUCKS

TTM FC are flying in 2018 and are unbeaten with 3 wins and a draw. Their opponents have not been so fortunate, but appear to have turned the corner with their 2-0 win at home last week at home. Bucks fans will be delighted that Erasmus is scoring goals again and is the leading goal scorer in league & cup with 11 goals in total this season. Bucks beat TTM FC 2-0 in Mthatha in Round 2 and a season double could derail TTM’s challenge for honours this season and take Bucks out of the relegation zone.

HIGHLANDS PARK v ROYAL EAGLES

The Lions of the North might be 6 points clear of the chasing pack and have occupied top spot in the NFD for 11 weeks this season, but the Tembisa side will be a bit concerned with having played to draws in their last 4 home encounters. Royal Eagles lost to Leopards last week and failed to score for the first time in 7 matches. Added to that the KZN side are just above the relegation zone and have conceded the most amount of goals in the NFD this season. BUT – they have also scored the most amount of goals. Highlands won 2-1 in Maritzburg in Round 2, but have drawn at home against Eagles in both of the past two seasons.

RICHARDS BAY FC v CT ALL STARS

Richards Bay fought to a hard goalless draw against logleaders Highlands last week and will hope to carry that momentum into their encounter with All Stars whom they have beaten all three time the sides have met in Richards Bay. The Cape side are unbeaten in 2018 with a win and 3 draws, but still in the bottom half of the table. All Stars beat Richards Bay 1-0 in Round 2 in the Mother City.

UBUNTU CT FC v BLACK LEOPARDS

Ubuntu were unceremoniously dumped back to the bottom of the NFD log after their draw in the Cape derby last week and the win for Mthatha Bucks. They have been in the drop zone for 15 weeks and bottom of the log for 11 weeks this season. Visiting Leopards won’t make it easy for the home side either as the Limpopo based side have lost only 1 of their 4 matches in 2018 and have climbed to 7th. The teams played to a 2-2 draw in Thohoyandou in Round 2.

MBOMBELA UNITED FC v SUPER EAGLES

From announcing themselves as championship contenders in October and November, Mbombela United have taken a plunge to 10th on the log and have won only one match this year. Having beaten Super Eagles 3-1 in Bethlehem at the start of the season, perhaps the Mpumalanga side can use the Free State side to get back to winning ways. The NFD rookies have only posted 1 away win all season and battling in 11th / 12th position since mid-November last year.     

UTHONGATHI FC v STELLENBOSCH FC

Sammy Troughton has enjoyed an unbeaten two match start to his time at the Cane Cutters, and will be hoping for more success when the KZN side meet Troughton’s former club, Stellenbosch FC on Sunday. Both sides played to draws in Round 19 and played to a 1-1 stalemate when they met earlier this season. After losing their opening two matches of 2018, the Cape side have hit form again, climbing 4 places up the log in 2 weeks.