NMMU-Madibaz have built up a proud record in the Safa-Nelson Mandela Bay SAB League this year, but are aware that there is still much to be done in the second half of the season.
Following 18 matches this season, Madibaz’s record of 11 wins, six draws and only one loss has propelled them to the top of the log on 39 points, seven ahead of Golden Aces.
However, with 12 matches remaining, there is still a long way to go and head coach Wayne Iveson said they knew they could not falter in the last few months. The league ends on April 30.
He identified a number of teams who could still challenge Madibaz for the title.
“Beating Golden Aces in the away fixture, as well as winning all our home games, will be essential to our chances of winning the league,” said Iveson.
Aces are second on the log with 32 points from 18 games, while Iveson said the next three teams on the log – Mabayibone Strikers, Camper United and Fairview Rovers – could all move into contention if Madibaz had a bad run.
Having ended fourth in the 2015/16 season, Iveson said they made it their goal this season to win the SAB League and to qualify for Varsity Football.
“Due to the fees protest in December the USSA (University Sport South Africa) week was cancelled, which meant we could not qualify for Varsity Football.
“However, the USSA tournament has been moved to July this year, where our goal will be to finish in the top eight to qualify for the 2018 Varsity Football competition.”
Iveson said their decision to stop the players from competing in the local football association competitions had paid dividends, allowing them to have a break and to focus properly on their SAB League preparations.
“We wanted to have a strong pre-season planning programme and we took a more professional approach, with the human movement science students conducting tests on players under biokineticist Jayde Howitz.”
He added they had assembled a good technical team alongside Howitz, with Nicholas Myataza as assistant coach and Glenton de Kock as goalkeeper coach.
“We also have had great support from football manager Mark Tommy.”
Iveson said the players had responded well to the technical, tactical and physical demands.
“The players are taught not to play in fear as our processes will determine the outcome,” he said.
Promotion to the ABC Motsepe league looms as the incentive for Madibaz, which Iveson said would be the stepping stone to trying to make the National First Division and to win Varsity Football.
Madibaz will continue their SAB League campaign this weekend with a double-header, hosting Highland Spurs on Saturday and taking on Despatch Pioneers in Despatch on Sunday.