The University of Johannesburg football team will be looking to break their two-year dry spell against University of the Western Cape when they face them in the seventh round of the Varsity Football tournament on Thursday.
Having faced the team four times since 2015, UJ will look to pull it together after they lost to North-West University last week if they are to stand a chance of making it through to the semi-finals.
“It is a must-win for us. We’re both on nine points, so, whichever team win it, will go through,” said UJ captain Dane Fortuin.
They have experienced little success against the Bellville-based team over the past two years, losing three times and drawing once, and Fortuin said he expected the upcoming clash to be “a battle”.
“I think it’s going to be war and we’re prepared for the fight. Basically, if we want to go through, it’s up to us to win it so it’s very exciting,” said the 22-year-old from Westdene.
The third-year law student said the home game would be an advantage that they would look to make the most of as UWC had not lost a match in Cape Town during this year’s Varsity Football campaign.
“I think that’s going to be the deciding factor. The home ground and home crowd is going to play a very big role.”
Having won and lost three times, the centre-back said the tournament had been filled with ups and downs and they were looking to deliver more consistent performances.
“Our season has been two very different stories.
“When we played Wits away everything went our way. With the good players we have, we were often on the attack and very direct.
“Then we played North-West at Mafikeng and it was the exact opposite.”
He acknowledged the team had some work to do after their recent loss, but said the focus and determination in the camp was apparent.
“It’s all about the preparation this week and just focusing on what we have to do; the tactics and making sure we can carry it through to Thursday at home.”
Fortuin said they would likely make use of the flexible 4-4-2 formation, which would allow them to keep UWC’s strong attacking players in check.
Putting his money where his mouth was, Fortuin said he hoped to lead by example after reports after their last game were less than complimentary.
“After last week, I read things that said poor performance reflect poor leadership, so I think it can be turned around to say good performance reflects good leadership.
“For me it’s about leading the team by example,” he said.
Despite having a rollercoaster ride of a tournament, he said his personal highlight came during their 4-1 victory over Wits University in the fourth round.
“My standout moment was when I got an assist against Wits. It means a lot because in my position an assist doesn’t happen too often.”