Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
4 minute read
18 Nov 2017
11:00 am

NFD back with a bang this weekend

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Former Mamelodi Sundowns and Moroka Swallows defender, James Mayinga, said the axing of coaches in the National First Division was clear indication of how hungry the teams in this division are.

He said it was not surprising that nine of the 16 teams have already gone through coaching changes just ten games into the season.

“The NFD is really competitive this season,” said Mayinga. “At this point last season Thanda (Royal Zulu) were already opening up a gap but this season the margins are too narrow. You win two games and you are up there.”

“Teams want to stay within touching distance of the leaders so if the results are not forthcoming the coach has to go. Even those who have made changes in their coaching department it is not guaranteed that they will stay. There are five games to go before the end of the first round and if no radical change has happened, they might be fired,” added Mayinga.

Cape Town All Stars, Richards Bay, Mthatha Bucks, Mbombela United, Highlands Park, Royal Eagles, Ubuntu Cape Town FC, Black Leopards and Super Eagles have changed coaches.

He also said the match between Lidoda Duvha and Amathol’amnyama will be the match of the weekend despite both having new men on the dugout.

“It’s always a difficult game between these two. It depends on which side will have motivated players on the day. The effect of the coaching change will also come to play,” he said..

Saturday:

Black Leopards vs Mthatha Bucks, at Thohoyandou Stadium, 3.30pm
Following a difficult start, Lidoda Duvha will be hoping that the new coach effect will work in their favour when they host Amathol’amnyama who also sacked Ian Palmer last week. Leopards are 13th having won just two of their first 10 matches complemented by four draws and four defeats. Amathol’amnyama are 10th and six points behind leaders Highlands Park.

Richards Bay FC vs Witbank Spurs, at Umhlathuze Sports Complex, 3.30pm
The Rich Boys will also be hoping for a fresh start under Jean Luscuito who joined them shortly after leaving Leopards. It has been a rough season so far for Jomo Biyela’s club as they are stuck at the bottom of the table and need to start moving up the table if they are serious about keeping their status next season.

University of Pretoria vs Ubuntu Cape Town, at Tuks Stadium, 3.30pm
If football was not an unpredictable game, it would easy to say Ubuntu are like a lamb going to a slaughter house as they visit AmaTuks. The teams have had contradicting starts this season. AmaTuks have been high flying and are joint top with Highlands while Ubuntu have been like a puppy chasing its own tail – busy not productive.

Mbombela United vs Tshakuma Tsha Madzivhandila, at Kanyamazane Stadium, 3.30pm
Another match that could be a blast as both teams are in good form and Tshakuma have proven to excel against the top sides. Tingwenyama are fourth on the log and just three points behind the leaders and will look to put home ground advantage to good use.

Royal Eagles vs Real Kings, at Harry Gwala Stadium, 3.30pm
This is another one of the many KwaZulu-Natal derbies and could be a stellar match with Eagles having found their footing under Zipho Dlangalala. The Magic Boys have not started with a bang but have been steadily improving.

Uthongathi FC vs Highlands Park, at Princess Magogo Stadium, 3.30pm
The day of reckoning has come for the Cane Cutters. If they win this, it can hugely boot their confidence but a defeat could, especially by a big score, could hinder them greatly.

Sunday:

Stellenbosch vs Jomo Cosmos, at King Zwelithini Stadium, 3.30pm
With the draught in Cape Town having forced Stellenbosch to seek an alternative venue outside their zone, fans will hope there will be plenty of goals in this fixture. Ezenkosi have been dogged by off-the-field problems but have been doing very well on the field.

Super Eagles vs Cape Town All Stars, at Goble Park Stadium, 3.30pm
Eagles are another team who have a new man at the helm with Spanish mentor Antonio Flores handed reign this week. Igugu leKapa have been doing well since Vladislav Heric took over. For a new team in this division, Eagles have not done badly but with a point separating them from the second from bottom team, they need to start collecting more points, especially at home.