Wits and NWU are in control going into Round Three of Varsity Football as the only sides to have won both of their matches.
NWU on hunt for third straight win
NWU will host UL on Thursday at the NWU-Mafikeng Stadium in a game the home side will want to use to solidify their position as one of the competition leaders.
Monde Hlatshwayo’s men are returning home from a 2-0 victory over UKZN making it two-from-two after their 2-1 win over UWC in Round One. A victory over the newly promoted UL would put NWU in the driving seat ahead of their home clash against TUT in Mahikeng the next week.
UL will have a lift in confidence going into the game. The recently promoted UL took a heavy 7-1 defeat against UJ in their fixture but seemed to shake off the cobwebs and held a vivacious TUT side to a 1-1 all draw. UL will hope they can replicate their strong defensive effort against NWU.
NWU take on UL at 16:00 on 9 August at the NWU-Mafikeng Stadium. Live on SS4 and SS10.
Bragging rights at stake in Johannesburg Derby
Valuable points, but more importantly, bragging rights will be on the table when UJ and Wits play their hands at the UJ Soweto Campus on Thursday.
UJ will arrive at their home stadium with a massive 7-1 victory over UL and 1-1 draw against UP-Tuks under their belt after two home games. Wits on the other hand are coming two successive victories after defeating UKZN in a 3-2 thriller in Durban and then taking a 1-0 victory over UWC in Johannesburg.
UJ captain Potoko Mametja believes the bragging rights on offer will definitely add spice to an already momentous fixture, while his side are keen to impress their home crowd.
“Playing Wits is always an exciting game, it’s not just the Johannesburg Derby, it’s definitely also about fighting for bragging rights to see who’s the best in Joburg. I think they are going to try and avenge themselves after we beat them 4-1 at their home ground last season. We are ready for anything.
“As for my team, it’s going to be a big one, we are playing at home, the pressure is on us. We never want to disappoint the home crowd, I think we are going to manage the game well.”
Wits captain Mahle Mtabane explained the level of competition between the two sides is close to the PSL, while echoing Mametja’s sentiment on being the best in Johannesburg.
“Playing UJ is always going to be difficult since it’s a derby. The atmosphere at the stadium for both teams and players is probably the closest we feel to being part of a PSL (Premier Soccer League) match in my opinion.
“We also would like to be considered the best team in Joburg. It’s also a grudge match considering the result of last year.
UJ will host Wits at the UJ Soweto Campus Stadium at 18:15 on Thursday, 9 August. Live on SS4 and SS10.
Tuks search for first win
Current Varsity Football champions Tuks, hope to claim vital points as they take on UKZN in Tshwane on Thursday.
Defending champions, Tuks, who are known for slow beginnings, will hope to grab all three points and continue their record of following up slow starts with breath-taking football as the tournament progresses. In their first match, they lost to their city rivals TUT by 2-1 and thereafter drew one-all with UJ.
Debutants UKZN on the other hand, will be looking to revive some sort of hope in the tournament as they will be playing their first away match ever, following their 3-2 and 2-0 home defeats to Wits and NWU respectively. At the moment they sit rock bottom of the table with no points. UKZN also have a history of coming strong towards the end of the game and will be looking to continue with that record.
The points will be crucial for both teams in the match as the two teams are separated by just a single point between them, and both have not yet tasted victory in the tournament.
The match will take place at the Tuks Stadium on Thursday and the kick-off is at 18:30pm. Live on SS4 and SS10.
UWC determined to turn season around
UWC captain Clinton Herwel believes his side can change their fortunes after two successive losses on the road.
The men from Bellville have lost two games in a row, after being defeated 2-1 in Mahikeng by NWU, they then lost 1-0 to Wits after holding the Braamfontein side goalless for most of the game with substitute Waylan Rooi giving Wits the advantage on the 80-minute mark.
Herwel conceded two defeats on the trot is not how UWC wanted to start the season.
“It’s been a tough start to the Varsity Football 2018 campaign as we lost two consecutive games. It’s never easy playing away because there are certain factors which are out of our hands, but we need to focus on ourselves and what we good at.”
The experienced skipper is adamant that his side has what it takes to make it to the business end of the competition.
“UWC is known for their character and fighting spirit, and this needs to be active for the remainder of the season. Our next game is against TUT, at home which is our fortress,” Herwel said.
“I still believe we can go all the way, but our fate is in our own hands. We need to get positive results going forward, by all means try our best to win every game but taking one game at a time and take each game as a final. We are a talented group of guys, but we need execute it on the field of play. We need to bounce back and get our confidence up again and hopefully it can happen Thursday.”
UWC will host TUT at 18:30 at the UWC Sports Stadium on 9 August. Live on SS4 and SS10.