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North West vs Free State - Key battles


North West vs Free State - Key battles

by Staff Reporter

Sunday Jul 20, 2014. 10:41

The hosts North West will clash with the Free State province at the North West University Sports Grounds in the final of the 15th edition of the SAB National Championship on Sunday afternoon.

Free State thumped KwaZulu Natal 5-1 in the first semi-final while the North West beat defending champions the Western Cape on penalties to book their place in the final.

We take a look at three key battles, which will decide the outcome of this year's Championship.

Lebogang Serache vs Dylan O'Brien

North West captain Lebogang Serache will have to be at his very best to keep out the tournaments top scorer, to subsequently ensure that the North West lift the title in front of their supporters.

O'Brien, who will this year play for Kovsies in the Varisty Cup which kicks-off on Monday evening has netted five times in five games as he continued to enhance his reputation as a clinical striker.

In the group stage meeting between the two side's, which Free State won 2-1, O'Brien scored a brace, but did not come up against Serache who was nursing a rib injury.

The North West didn't look the same without their skipper who draws comparison to a certain OJ Mabizela. Calm on the ball, hard in the tackle while he is also prepared to put his body on the line for his team.

This confrontation could go a long way in deciding who lifts the silverware.

Kgotso Mofokeng vs Omphemetse Mothusi

In football, their is nothing quite like a midfield battle and with Mofokeng and Mothusi lining up against each other one can expect another fierce skirmish in the middle of the park.

Mofokeng is the centre piece of an attacking Free State outfit, the number 6 does all the hard work in the middle, gets back to defend, bursts forward and makes the players around him shine.

Mothusi who has been ever present throughout North West campaign will have to be at his very best to keep an energetic Mofokeng quiet, but will be confident he can do that by playing in an offensive manner himself.

Having bagged two goals himself in five games, Mothusi is no slouch in front of goal.

The Free State attack vs Koketso Tslukuelu

Free State keeper Nicholas Magawu has been superb since coming off the bench in the opening day of the tournament, but one feels that the keeper under more pressure will be Koketso Tslukuelu who will have to be at his very best to keep out a venomous Free State front line.

With the pressure of playing at home coupled with opposition who have scored at will on times during the tournament, Tslukuelu will have to be faultless.

'The last Rhino' has been outstanding in his own right, but will again have to be at the top of his game to keep the visitors quiet.

With the likes of O'Brien, Mbuyiselo 'Neymar' Thethani and arguably the outstanding player of the tournament Tshepo 'lefty' Mokhabi in their ranks, one can't imagine that the Free State won't find the back of the net.

Free State have scored 12 goals in five games, with O'Brein scoring five, 'Neymar scoring twice and Mokhabi also bagging a double.

O'Brien has been his clinical self while Mokhabi has terrorized every defensive line-up with his pace and skill down the flank.

'Neymar' has had to settle for a place among the substitutes in the past two games, but he has made an impact off the bench on both occasions.

Him running at a tired North West defence in the final 10 minutes could well decide the outcome on the day.