The first 2023 FNB Varsity Shield semi-final in Gqeberha tomorrow presents the ideal opportunity for FNB Madibaz to show they have learnt their lessons after being pipped 35-32 by FNB CPUT earlier in the season. Kick-off for tomorrow is at 15:30.
The home side’s shot at redemption against the men from the Western Cape comes after an excellent season in which they finished second on the log to high-flying FNB UWC, setting up the semi-final against CPUT and giving them a crack at promotion to the 2024 Varsity Cup.
“There’s a definite determination in the team for the semi-final this week because it’s an opportunity to rectify the mistakes we made against them last time,” says Madibaz skipper Leon van der Merwe.
“Our focus will be on managing the game much better. We had a big lead last time and allowed them back in through our own mistakes. We have to minimise those unforced errors and make sure we control possession to deny them the ball.”
Van der Merwe paid tribute to his young squad who had shown extreme commitment to the cause in a tough competition this season. It included a comprehensive victory over defending champions FNB UFH in the penultimate round. (Watch highlights HERE)
“A lot of the players got their first taste of Varsity Shield and they have had to rise to the challenges of the tournament. I have been very proud of them.”
The skipper says as they still have the opportunity to be promoted the team is very motivated to keep working hard.
“We just have to stick to our systems and trust our processes.”
It is also an opportunity for the Madibaz to repay the fans for their support throughout the season, says Van der Merwe.
“The supporters have been amazing and we have appreciated the atmosphere at the home games. This is potentially our last home fixture of the season and we would love to play in front of a packed stadium.”
FNB Madibaz: 15 Myburg Kehan, 14 Konza Kholiwe, 13 Kruger Henry Edward, 12 Franks Enrique Linley, 11 Bophi Khakalethu Alivadon, 10 November Chadwyn Ronaldo, 9 Fourie Divan Andre, 8 van der Merwe Leon, 7 Solomon Mekyle Recodin, 6 Hlupheko Mzwakhe Kevin, 5 Tokwe Umna, 4 Nogaya Thando Sihle, 3 Limba Aqhamile Khiphi, 2 Olivier Keaton, 1Limana Chulumance.
Semi-final fixtures HERE.