Golden Arrows could have too much firepower for Royal AM in KZN derby

Nduduzo Sibiya (right) has been on a roll, scoring three goals in Golden Arrows’ last four matches. Photo: BackpagePix

Nduduzo Sibiya (right) has been on a roll, scoring three goals in Golden Arrows’ last four matches. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Apr 18, 2024


Golden Arrows coach Steve Komphela will have ample reason to believe that they can bounce back to winning ways when they face Royal AM on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Arrows are wounded after their 7-1 mauling by Orlando Pirates in the DStv Premiership at Orlando Stadium in Soweto a week ago.

That result, despite Komphela trying to sugar-coat it during his post-match media conference, stung Abafana Bes’thende, who were just hitting form.

Komphela had bagged seven points from three games since his return, to push the team further up the log and give them hope of finishing in the top eight.

Sure, they suffered the heaviest defeat in the top flight so far this season, but all is not lost for the Lamontville-based team this season.

They can still finish in a coveted top-eight spot as they are joint eighth with Kaizer Chiefs on 30 points.

And coming into their game against neighbours Royal AM, who trail them by two points, Arrows will be favourites to win at the Mpumalanga Stadium in Hammarsdale on Saturday, considering the quality of players at their disposal.

Nduduzo Sibiya has been on a roll, scoring three goals in the last four matches – showing that he still has it after his promotion from the reserve team.

But that’s not all. “Suluman”, as Sibiya is known in football circles, has shown his maturity, having not sulked or moaned when he was stripped of the captain’s armband.

Sibiya cannot do it alone, though. He’ll need his teammates to help the side, just like Lungelo Nguse, who’s scored in the last two games for Arrows.

Komphela also knows John Maduka – and some of the Royal AM players – like the back of his hand, after working with them at the now-defunct Bloemfontein Celtic some time back.

But be that as it may, Komphela will underestimate Maduka and his Royal AM side at his own peril on Saturday afternoon.

Thwihli Thwahla might no longer be the menacing side they were two seasons ago, after being banned from signing new players by Fifa, but they’ve done their best.

They’ve mostly had to field senior players and youngsters from the development ranks, and that has paid dividends at times. Hence, they are 18 points clear of relegation.

It’s usually said the 30-point mark is enough for a team to retain their top-flight status, and with Royal AM two points away from that tally, they have reason to believe.

Mxolisi Mcuphu, 34, and Thabo Matlaba, 36, have been cornerstones of the team, and will have to continue leading from the front if they are to get a victory against Arrows, and revive their top-eight aspirations.

And any potential triumph could be any sweeter, coming against their direct rivals.