Golden Arrows seeking spirit of 2009 against Sundowns in TKO semi

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Lamontville Golden Arrows Assistant Coach Mandla Ncikazi believes the time is now for Abafana Bes’thende. He says this ahead of their Telkom Knockout semi-final showdown against Mamelodi Sundowns in Nelspruit on Saturday.

The two meet at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont with the winner to face either Kaizer Chiefs or Maritzburg United in next month’s final.

Arrows won their only piece of silverware with Ncikazi beating Ajax Cape Town in the MTN 8 ten years ago. Back then he worked under the leadership of Manqoba Mngqithi, who is now an assistant at the Brazilians. Ncikazi says it will be good to get one over his old friend.

Arrows and Sundowns also met at the same venue in the Absa Premiership two weeks earlier when the Durban side claimed a surprise 3-2 win over the defending champions.

It was their first win over the Brazilians for two years and will give them plenty of confidence heading into this second meeting of the campaign.

Arrows’ head coach Steve Komphela is hoping his players can play the match and not get carried away by the occasion, one of few big days in their history and possibly the biggest for the bulk of his young squad.

Arrows have beaten Polokwane City and SuperSport United to reach this stage of the competition, while Sundowns’ path to the last four has seen them slay AmaZulu and then Chippa United.

Komphela also stressed the importance of his players treating the game as any ordinary one rather than waking up to the fact that they were playing Sundowns for the right to reach a major cup final.

When the two teams faced off in a league match two weeks ago, the Tshwane giants were minus several of their key players like Themba Zwane, Gaston Sirino and Hlompho Kekana. Although the former has been ruled out, the latter pair are expected to return.

Komphela admits the fit-again players will bolster their opponents, but he remained optimistic of holding their own in front of their home fans, who have yet to see them lose in all competitions this year. 

Report by Thahir Asmal