Players Led Madibaz Revolution
Experienced NMMU defender, Vuyo Marele, says the turnaround in their season came when the players stepped up and took responsibility for their performances.
Last year's beaten finalists were erratic in the first few rounds this season, and were faced with the possibility of falling out of the running ahead of their Round Five clash with Kovsies.
However, a crucial team meeting in Bloemfontein in which everyone was encouraged to speak their mind saw them go on to score seven unanswered goals in their next two games to put themselves firmly in the play-off hunt.
Marele explained that the mood in the camp has been completely different since they got everything off their chests in Bloemfontein.
"We started slowly this season and probably underestimated a few of our early opponents, but things changed around when we had a meeting in Bloemfontein where the players said what they felt.
"The coach let the players speak for themselves and we took responsibility, it was a totally different atmosphere in the team after that.
"With just four points from four games we knew we had to play every game for the rest of the tournament as if it was a final," he said.
Convincing wins over Kovsies and Limpopo have set up a mouth-watering replay of last years' final against UP-Tuks in Pretoria next week, and Marele knows that the defending champions will not be giving an inch.
"Tuks will have a point to prove and they will be gunning for us, they won't want to be knocked out before the play-offs," he said.
As a defender who played in the final last year, Marele knows that he will have to deal with the height and physicality of the UP-Tuks strikers.
"They want to play in the opposition half and they don't make many mistakes in their own half," he said.
The NMMU defence have been impressive in recent weeks, keeping two consecutive cleansheets, but Marele said that there is always room for improvement.
"Our confidence is quite high but we still made a few mistakes that we picked up in our video sessions so we have been working on that," he said.