Madibaz football fans will finally get a glimpse of their team this week when NMMU hosts Walter Sisulu University for the first home game of the 2015 Varsity Football tournament on Thursday night.
After five rounds on the road, the Madibaz will be hoping for the first win of the campaign on their home pitch.
“The boys can’t wait to play in front of their home fans and give them the desired result,” said Madibaz head coach Graeme Harrison.
“I am certain they are going to go all out to give them something to cheer about.”
Harrison said the players had been hard at work for the WSU game and that preparations had been going well.
“We have to give ourselves a strong chance because it’s our first home game and we really want to impress our supporters,” he added.
The teams look set to be well matched, with the team from Mthatha ranked seventh out of the eight participating institutions – just one spot above their Eastern Cape counterparts.
“They are a strong team and in the past have shown that they can score goals, so to beat them we going to have to prevent that,” said Harrison.
He said the NMMU players understood that they needed to put in additional effort at this point in the tournament if they were to take one back and beat WSU.
“They are an attacking team so I expect them to play an open game. This means they can score goals but also leak them and we will have to take advantage of that,” he said.
Harrison said Simamkele Thobi would return to partner Cloudius Sagandira as twin strikers at the head of the attack, while Achuma Klaas and Sachin Jackson on the wings would give the Madibaz the necessary impetus to get round the WSU defence.
“I feel with sufficient supply of passes to the strikers they can find the net for us.”
Captain and defensive midfielder Athini Bisha moves to strengthen the backline after defender Diego van Rooyen was red-carded in the previous game against TUT.
Harrison said the support of home fans would play a significant role in influencing their chances of winning.
He appealed to Madibaz supporters to attend the final games of the tournament.
“The team needs you – please come out in your numbers to support the team in the last two home games,” he said.
Tickets for the match, which kicks off at 6.30pm, cost R10 and will be available at the gate at the Madibaz Stadium.
Madibaz: 1 Matthew Booysen, 2 Onela Beqezi, 3 Lonwabo Balfour, 4 Lundi Balfour, 5 Athini Bisha, 6 Achuma Klaas, 7 Zusakhe Sali, 8 Sachin Jackson, 9 Simamkele Thobi, 10 Cloudius Sagandira, 11 Karabo Motlhabi, 12 Xola Fipaza, 13 Onke Matomela, 14 Ekow Anfoh Assan, 15 Fuzo Zantsi, 16 Chuma Mapuma, 17 Litha Fingo, 18 Ashton Reddy.