This weekend sees the National First Division heading into the second round, with some fantastic match-ups set to entertain and enthrall fans of the NFD.
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Moroka Swallows (16th) v AmaZulu (8th) – Dobsonville Stadium
Two former PSL giants go head to head, Swallows looking to arrest their free-fall to the foot of the table, while also hoping to exact revenge for the 4-0 defeat they suffered to Usuthu in KZN in the first round. Recent form favours AmaZulu – they go into this game having beaten Vasco da Gama 4-1, while the Birds lost 5-0 away at Milano United in their last outing.
Witbank Spurs (5th) v Santos (10th) – Puma Rugby Stadium
Spurs will be looking to reverse their recent form, two consecutive defeats having seen the Mpumalanga outfit dropping out of the top three for the first time in many months. Santos meanwhile have gone four matches without a win. The pair have already met twice this season; Spurs winning 1-0 in Cape Town, while the Peoples’ Team won 2-0 in Witbank in a Nedbank Cup qualifier.
FC Cape Town (14th) v Black Leopards (9th) -NNK Rugby Stadium
A win over Witbank Spurs, and a draw with Baroka FC in FC Cape Town’s last three matches has given the African Beasts renewed hope and seen them climbing out of the drop zone. Leopards though are starting to put a run of form together and go into the game having beaten Royal Eagles, Thanda and Vasco in their last five games, losing just once.
Thanda Royal Zulu (11th) v Vasco Da Gama (12th) – Umhlathuze Sports Complex
Another two former Absa Premiership clubs meet in the NFD, both clubs needing to string together some positive results after failing to find top gear this campaign. Each club has won just one of their last five, Thanda losing the other four, while Vasco lost three and drew one. In head to head clashes, you will have to go back to 2013 for the last time the KZN side beat the men from Parow.
Baroka FC (1st) v Mthatha Bucks (15th) – Old Peter Mokaba Stadium
Top plays second from bottom as Baroka look to maintain or even extend their two point cushion at the summit. Baroka had to fight back for a 2-2 draw in their last match against Highlands Park, but have claimed 11 out of 15 points in their last five outings. Bucks have shown improved form under Velile Dyaloyi and are pushing hard to escape the relegation zone, seven points in their last three matches proof of that.
Sunday, January 24, 2016
African Warriors (13th) v Highlands Park (6th) – Charles Mopeli Stadium
Warriors have been living dangerously, hovering just above the relegation zone for much of the season. Five draws in 15 matches this season means they are a hard team to beat, but Highlands Park will fancy their chances as they go into this game on the back of taking seven points from their last three games, the Gauteng side very much in the play-off mix.
Royal Eagles (7th) v Mbombela United (3rd) – King Zwelithini Stadium
This one has the makings of the game of the weekend. The away side have been sensational in their first season in the NFD, and go into this game with three wins and two draws from their last five matches, currently on track for the play-offs. Eagles have been inconstant of late, but have the quality and ambition in their squad to beat anyone on their day.
JAPHET ZWANE, TAPELO NYONGO – AMAZULU
CYPRIAN KHAMBULE, MOTHOBI MVALA – HIGHLANDS PARK
BOYSEN MBATHA, TSHEPO MOLOTO – MOROKA SWALLOWS
MOGAMAD DE GOEDE, NATHAN GERTSE – VASCO DA GAMA