When the season began, no one even thought of FNB UJ in terms of title contenders, now they’re in the semi-finals and looking to defy all the odds and make history in the semi-final showdown on Monday in the 2017 Varsity Cup presented by Steinhoff international.
“The journey has been emotional – a roller-coaster but [we’re] also a grateful for the opportunity to be in a knockout match despite our position earlier on in the season. We are raring to go and experience the semi-final and possibly have one of the best matches in our lives,” said coach Werner Janse van Renseburg.
There was an air of optimism in the FNB UJ camp, and one man who believed FNB UJ could go all the way was their manager and the genius behind the helm, being coach Van Rensburg. At one point of the season they were on the brink of elimination, with the team bruised and battered. Six weeks later, they are on the road to redemption and are looking to defy the odds once again as they look to make history and rewrite the wrong of their semi-final defeat last season.
“A knockout game boils down to personal attitude and an element of luck going in your favour. The competition always produces an upset. Our journey started in October and now we are at the biggest stage of the competition. There is no more motivation needed than to showcase your talents to the country and the world,” the coach said.
The coach himself should be applauded for his efforts to drive the team forward, after facing relentless pressure to win the Varsity Cup. FNB UJ are again one step closer to the cup and are desperately looking to beat FNB Maties, after they lost the fixture on Monday. They will go in with a better tactical nuance and understanding of what they need to do beat their opponents.
The Danie Craven Stadium is a fortress and FNB Maties can always rely on their home fans. On paper, one would favour the home side because of their credentials, and FNB UJ will be looking to utilise that and go in with no pressure and nothing to lose. If it was a stats game, the FNB Maties would already be planning a trip to Pretoria for the final, or planning to host the final game on home soil again.
In closing the coach of FNB UJ mentioned, “The fact that we had a very few guys playing at Maties, we have now had the experience, we have seen what they got and they are an excellent team, but it is also important to note that we did not bring all of our game and that we allow ourselves to come with that element surprise in the semi-finals.”
By Nkosinathi Shazi