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Varsity Football

NWU's Late Semifinal Surge

NWU-Mafikeng were in danger of not reaching the playoffs of the 2016 Varsity Football competition but a late surge ensured they snuck in to claim the fourth and final spot to keep their hopes alive of claiming their first-ever title.

Seven points from their final three matches ensured they finished the round robin phase with 11 points from their seven matches. Of the four semifinalists, they have scored the second most goals (12) - showing that they know how to score.

However, they have conceded the most (13) which makes one believe that they are defensively frail.

The institution that Supersport United striker Thabo Mnyamane represented in 2013 got off to worst possible start as they suffered a 2-6 defeat at the hands of UJ in Mafikeng. After heading into the break level at 2-all, the home side had a disastrous second half and conceded four unanswered goals.

They bounced back a week later by claiming a narrow 3-2 victory over newcomers Fort Hare before their third round match with Wits was postponed due to a number of the Wits and NWU players being called up to the National University team.

Upon their return, their inconsistent run continued as they picked up a goalless draw against two-time champions UP-Tuks in Pretoria before heading back home for a Round Five encounter with pace setters TUT. TUT left Mafikeng with three points after claiming a 1-0 victory.

That left Mafikeng with just four points from four games, with one victory and one draw. At this point, another defeat would see them being knocked out of the competition but they then hit their straps.

They rewrote the history books in Round Six by scoring the fastest goal in Varsity Football history when they took a 1-0 lead after just 26 seconds of play against UWC. They added a further three goals to take a healthy 4-0 lead. However, they took their foot off the gas in the second half but still managed to bag a 4-3 victory.

Round Seven saw them claim a goalless draw with second-placed CUT, which meant that they needed a draw from their final match - the postponed Round Three match against Wits. It may not have been their best performance but they bagged a 3-1 victory to ensure fourth spot on the log.

They will now play log leaders TUT on Thursday, September 8 for a place in the Final.

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