AmaTuks must keep NFD wolves at bay

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As second and third-placed finishers respectively, Highlands Park and Mbombela United earned the right to play against the club that finished second last (15th) in the top flight, the University of Pretoria.

Mbombela United have been the surprise package of the NFD, the Mpumalanga-based club in their first season in the division after winning the Second Division play-offs a year ago. Allan Freese's Highlands Park have not been around in the NFD much longer, having just completed their second campaign in South African football's second tier.

AmaTuks meanwhile beat Golden Arrows 2-1 in Pretoria on Saturday to lift themselves off the foot of the table to avoid automatic relegation, the fate which befell Jomo Cosmos after their 3-1 loss to Maritzburg United.

But Shaun Bartlett's team will now have to overcome two NFD clubs which are on form, motivated and hungry to make it to the Absa Premiership for the first time in their histories.

And while the Lions of the North and Tingwenyama are full of confidence and have winning momentum behind them, the Tuks contingent would likely be feeling emotionally drained after they found themselves battling for their lives over the last three months. Of the last five play-offs, the team finishing 15th in the top flight have only once preserved their status, Polokwane City having achieved this two years ago.

AmaZulu, Chippa United (who bounced back a season later), Santos and Vasco da Gama have all found the heat of the play-offs too much to handle and were relegated.

The fixture list is as follows: Wednesday 25 May: Mbombela United v Highlands Park Sunday 29 May: University of Pretoria v Mbombela United Saturday 11 June: Highlands Park v University of Pretoria Wednesday 15 June: Highlands Park v Mbombela United Saturday 18 June: Mbombela United v University of Pretoria Saturday 22 June: University of Pretoria v Highlands Park Home teams are listed first. Kick off times and venues are still to be confirmed. - African News Agency (ANA)

Original source: AmaTuks must keep NFD wolves at bay

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