UFH - Football - Women - Asanda Mnakaniso (FSC)

When University of Fort Hare coach Asanda Mnakaniso uses terms like “war” and “fighting fire with fire”, you know that they are bracing themselves for a physical onslaught of epic proportions.

Copperbelt Ladies FC are one of the most aggressive teams in the Hollywoodbets Super League and the UFH mentor is determined to see his charges putting their bodies on the line in front of their home fans on Saturday.

Copperbelt have made a great start to the season, drawing 2-2 with third-placed University of the Western Cape and uprooting Durban Ladies FC 4-1.

The Limpopo outfit gained promotion to the Super League two seasons ago and have been solid performers ever since. They are currently fourth on the 16-team table.

“They are a very good team. They have also won the Sasol League before,” Mnakaniso said.

“They focus a lot on positional play and are very aggressive. They have a lot of energy.”

In this week’s training he has been unequivocal in his message that the players will need to fight the full 90 minutes. He has also placed a lot of emphasis on going forward.

“It’s not easy coming up against a team like this. You have to be aggressive as well, you have to fight fire with fire.”

UFH - Football - Women - Asanda Mnakaniso (FSC)

Fort Hare coach Asanda Mnakaniso is anticipating a highly physical encounter against Copperbelt Ladies FC in Alice on Saturday. Photo: Full Stop Communications

Copperbelt are also renowned for their set-piece play, and it is in this area that Fort Hare will need to front up.

An injury has ruled out UFH’s first-choice goalkeeper Amahle Dinwayo, but Mnakaniso is not overly concerned as he has several No 1s at his disposal.

“This is why we have a big squad this year,” he said.

Fort Hare have made a decent start to their maiden Super League campaign, beating TUT in the opening round and giving the University of Pretoria a real scare in a 1-2 defeat last weekend.

UP-Tuks boasted Banyana Banyana forward Wendy Shongwe in their ranks, yet UFH stood up to the challenge and could well have come away with a draw or even a win had they taken their chances.

“We fought very well and were happy with how we performed,” Mnakaniso said.

The coach has been methodical in his approach to the season and has declared that their number one goal is to ensure UFH stay in the top flight next year and beyond.

He has developed a roadmap to guide Fort Hare in terms of the number of log points they should have at certain stages of the tournament.

They are currently on three from two matches and even a draw in Alice this weekend will put them well on track for their first target of six points.

“We will do anything to make sure we don’t lose at home,” he said.

“Our players are approaching games just as we planned and we are happy with everything. It’s all going according to plan.”

He had special praise for his technical team, who he said were doing a “wonderful job” in Fort Hare’s debut season in the big leagues.