The Central University of Technology (CUT) and the North-West University (NWU) will battle it out for what could be a season-defining encounter for both sides.
After both teams got off to great starts in the 2017 Varsity Football season, the wheels seem to have been dislodged by ruthless opposition. CUT conceded a solitary goal and scored three on their way to victories over the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Back-to-back losses to the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and favourites Tshwane University Technology (TUT), shipping four goals in the process, have set their campaign on shaky ground.
Perennial favourites NWU have had similar luck, or lack thereof. Scoring seven goals in their first two matches, they could not have had it any better. However, their defence was soon exposed by a rampant UWC, who put four past them in the Mother City.
Watch – NWU suffer heavy defeat to UWC:
With only a point standing between them, and the semi-finals only three matches away, the magnitude of Thursday’s encounter cannot be overstated enough. The home side, faced with two away tests in fellow favourites UJ and TUT in the latter encounters of the round-robin phase, cannot afford a further slip-up should they wish to make it to the knock-out stage. CUT, on the other hand, will host current wooden-spooners University of Fort Hare before closing out with a tricky away encounter at inconsistent University of Pretoria (UP-Tuks).
By the time both teams take to the Mafikeng Stadium field at 6:15, neither of them will require extra motivation, knowing a victory could be the difference between a place in the last four and a spot on the sidelines.
By Sam Styrax