The University of Johannesburg are planning to finish their round-robin programme on a winning note when they meet Fort Hare in the Varsity Football competition in Alice on Monday.
Their 2-0 win over Wits in the penultimate round this week has given UJ a timely boost to fourth place on the log and they will want to keep up the momentum in their final match of the league phase.
Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) are the only side assured of a place in the semi-finals. They have 16 points and are followed by Central University of Technology (CUT) on 11 points.
Thereafter it is a logjam, with UP-Tuks and UJ on eight points, followed by University of Western Cape (UWC) and NWU-Mafikeng on seven each. NWU have the advantage of having a game in hand.
While UJ coach Mandla Zwane said there was still a lot of pressure on them, he was confident they would be able to stay in the top four.
“We know next week’s game is do or die for us and there is a lot at stake,” he said.
“I don’t want to put pressure on the boys, but they understand that all that we need is three points for the win and we could end in third or fourth spot.”
Fort Hare suffered a big 9-1 defeat against UP-Tuks on Monday, but Zwane said he did not place too much significance in that result.
“Often when you have to travel you may not be able to field your full team. So I don’t think just because they lost by a big margin to Tuks that we will be in for an easy game.
“There will be no walkover for us and it will be a tough challenge in Alice.”
The UJ mentor was pleased with their efforts on Monday when Katlego Ntsabeleng and Samuel Warder found the net. Previously the side had battled to convert their opportunities.
“I don’t think we did much differently except to change some playing personnel. The goals have been eluding us but the boys knew the importance of Monday’s game, as well as the final match at Fort Hare.”