NFD 2017/18 - WEEK 21 PREVIEW


All Stars put up a brave performance in the Nedbank Cup last Friday before losing by a single goal to Mamelodi Sundowns and look to continue with their good form in 2018 when they meet TTM FC for the third time. All Stars inflicted the only home defeat this season on the high flying Limpopo side and also beat them in the Cape in the Nedbank Cup qualifiers. Even more impressive is that All Stars didn’t concede a goal in those two matches. Both sides are unbeaten in 2018 and while All Stars are in 10th, TTM FC have climbed to 2nd behind Highlands Park, albeit 8 points behind the logleaders. A 3rd win for the Cape side could damage the Playoff chances of TTM FC, while a win for the visitors would close the gap to Highlands to 5 points with the logleaders only playing on Sunday.


Level on points but separated by goal difference a win for either team could see the victor hit the 30 point mark and improve their challenge for a place in the post season. Both teams posted victories in round 20 over lowly opposition and neither were involved in the Nedbank Cup, therefore having two weeks in which to set out their plans for the final third of the season. In a strange phenomenon, Leopards have never won at home over Mbombela, but have also never lost away in Mpumalanga.


Mthatha Bucks showed great character in going down to Amazulu in the Nedbank Cup on penalties last time out and will no doubt build on that performance going into the final third of the season. Tuks however will not be going to Mthatha to make up the numbers. The Pretoria side are only 3 points away from a place in the Playoffs, and fresh off a victory over Cosmos. The teams played to a 1 – 1 draw in Round 1.


Richards Bay hammered Bloem Young Tigers 5 – 0 in the Nedbank Cup on Wednesday and will hope to use that momentum to upset title chasing real Kings in one of two KZN derbies taking place on Saturday. Kings suffered their first defeat of 2018 last time out when they lost 1 – 2 to Spurs in Witbank. The loss for Kings dropped them out of 2nd place on the log. Richards Bay are still involved in a relegation dogfight involving 6 teams separated by 4 points. The teams played to a 1 – 1 draw in Round 1.


The second of the KZN derbies on Saturday is a 6 pointer that pitches two side fighting for survival in the NFD. Both teams are the bottom 6 sides that are separated by 4 points in the scrap to avoid relegation, both teams lost to title chasing opposition last time out in the NFD and both sides have new coaches. Eagles did win in the Nedbank in a KZN derby with lower league side Happy Wanderers, but were not impressive by all accounts. The teams played to a 1 – 1 draw in Round 1.


Super Eagles took the lead against PSL side Free State Stars in the Nedbank Cup on Wednesday, and forced their city rivals into extra time, but fell to a late goal from Stars. So back to the battle to survive their first season in the professional ranks. A meeting with Spurs will not be an easy one. Not only did Spurs win 2 - 1 in Witbank in Round 1, but they also come off a confidence boosting win over then 2nd place Real Kings last time out. Spurs might be 8th on the log, but are only 4 points behind Real Kings in 3rd and the Playoffs.


The loss for Highlands Park in the Nedbank Cup on Wednesday is their first in 17 outings, and will allow the Lions of the North to concentrate on winning automatic promotion to the PSL. Easier said than done in Vosloorus, because Cosmos are unbeaten at their new home ground this season and still very much in the race for the post season, despite not posting a win in 2018 yet. Highlands beat Cosmos 1 – 0 in Round 1, and a repeat result would be a huge boost for the Tembisa side. The match will be shown live on Supersport 4 on Sunday afternoon.     


A Cape derby involving two sides who posted wins in the first round of the Nedbank Cup and hoping to take that form through to their very different objectives in the final 10 matches of the season. Stellenbosch FC are one of only 3 sides to have graced top spot on the log and although they have dropped to 5th in the standings, are still very much in contention for a place in the Playoffs come May. Right down the other side of the table are Ubuntu who posted that fabulous win over PSL outfit Polokwane City in the Nedbank Cup. BUT – they have been in the relegation zone for 80% of the season, yes 16 out of the 20 weeks and bottom of the log for 12 weeks. Ubuntu are only one win away from escaping the drop zone, but part of a six team group separated by only 4 points in that relegation melee. Stellenbosch beta Ubuntu 2 – 1 in Round 1.