Kovsies will be led by the youngest player in the team when they play their first Varsity Football semifinal against UJ in Soweto next week.
Themba Zimo was part of the squad that finished fifth last season, and having been given the captain's armband this year the 20-year-old midfielder has risen to the challenge.
The Free State side secured a 1-1 draw on Monday against an NWU side that had thumped them 6-1 last year, claiming fourth spot and booking a play-off berth in the process.
Zimo is proud of the way his side stepped up when the pressure was on, which he believes will be key in the knock-out phase of the competition.
"We went for the win against NWU and we deserved more from that game but we lost concentration. We are a different team this year.
"It has been a humbling experience for me to captain as the youngest player in the team, it has been a continous test of character but we have a lot of other leaders in the team," he said.
The Kovsies skipper knows that his side face a massive test against the unbeaten UJ away from home, but says they can take heart from their 2-2 draw against them in Bloemfontein earlier in the season.
"UJ are a very good side but we will be going all-out, I told the team that everything starts now and we must play our own football.
"When we played them here in Bloemfontein they survived and came back to salvage a draw in the last minute but we had the upper hand and had the lead twice," he explained.
Despite that encouraging performance, Zimo knows that they cannot afford to take anything for granted against a well-drilled UJ side.
"It will be a tough game and I am taking nothing away from UJ, they have momentum and belief and they will have their supporters on their side.
"Both teams play good football and like to hold the ball on the ground so it should be a competitive game," he said.
Kovsies will welcome back defenders Jarred Meyer and Dumisani Tjomelane from suspension which means that they will be at full strength for the semifinal.