Alvin Reeves and Michael de Vries
THERE will be some serious jostling for position at the top of the table when the final Varsity Football Challenge round-robin matches take place at various venues today.
Only two points separate the four semifinalists – TUT (14), NWU (13), Tuks (13) and NMMU (12).
All of them will have their sights set on securing home advantage for the knockout stage next week.
TUT will be favourites to finish top of the standings by virtue of the fact that they are playing Wits, who are second- last, having won only one match in six.
NMMU will also start as favourites against UFS at the NMMU campus tonight (7pm).
A full haul of points for them and a draw between NWU and Tuks would see the Port Elizabeth-based students secure a home semifinal.
Home matches have been a rarity in the competition for NMMU, with tonight's game being only their second in front of their own fans.
They have remained unbeaten through the round-robin stage despite five away games and that says much for the manner in which the team have been managed.
Tonight, NMMU face a UFS team that will be full of confidence after their first win of the season against Wits last week.
A win for UFS would seal fifth place, which would be some consolation after a disappointing campaign.
However, they will have their work cut out for them to break down the disciplined NMMU defensive system.
ıMatters kick off this afternoon with the Cape derby as UWC host UCT.
The hosts can finish in fifth place if things go their way, but more importantly, local bragging rights will be on the line.
UCT are still looking for their first Varsity Football win, and will be desperate to lift themselves off the bottom of the standings, so there will be no lack of motivation for either side.
NWU will have revenge on their minds when they host Tuks in Mafikeng.
Tuks beat NWU twice at the USSA competition last year – in the first game and then in the final – so the hosts will be determined to turn that around and gain a psychological edge over one of the favourites ahead of the playoffs.
Tuks come into the clash with great momentum having won their last three games, but they are up against a quality NWU outfit that will have a loyal Mafikeng crowd behind them.
Log-leaders TUT will be looking to secure top spot on the standings with a win against a Wits team that have struggled to find the net all season.
Apart from the three points on offer, a big win over Wits will give the Tshwane side valuable confidence ahead of what will be a testing semifinal fixture next week, no matter who they face.
Today's fixtures are: UWC v UCT (Cape Town); TUT v Wits; NWU v Tuks; NMMU v UFS