Rejuvenated Arrows look to sink Bay into deeper trouble

COACH Vusumuzi Vilakazi has swapped Golden Arrows colours for Richards Bay ones as both teams meet today. | BackpagePix

COACH Vusumuzi Vilakazi has swapped Golden Arrows colours for Richards Bay ones as both teams meet today. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 30, 2024

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A REJUVENATED Lamontville Golden Arrows outfit have their hearts set on sinking former coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi and his Richards Bay team into deeper relegation trouble.

The teams clash at the Mpumalanga Stadium in Hammarsdale today at 3.30pm, looking to get one over each other in yet another instalment of a KwaZulu-Natal derby.

Abafana Bes’thende notched up a valuable win over Polokwane City before the international break and saw new head coach Steve Komphela make the perfect start to his second stint at the club.

Komphela’s first match also saw Arrows break a horrid 11-game run that had seemingly become too much to halt for now assistant coaches Mabhuti Khenyeza and Musa Bilankulu.

Such is the unpredictability of the DStv premiership that this encounter will also pit one of Arrows’ longest serving sons, Vilakazi, against the club that handed him his biggest playing and coaching opportunities.

Now head coach of the Natal Rich Boyz, ‘Kanu’ finds himself in deep relegation trouble having left Arrows in second place on the league standings earlier this season.

Following a brief spell at Chippa United, Vilakazi has now been entrusted with the responsibility of helping save the top-flight status of a fellow KZN club.

Richards Bay currently occupy 15th place on the standings, just two points ahead of bottom-placed Cape Town Spurs.

The club have won one, drawn one and lost three league outings under Vilakazi’s guidance, a record they will be looking to better against Arrows.

However, having beaten Richards Bay in the first round of the league campaign, Arrows will head into this match as slight favourites, especially with Abafana Bes’thende’s familiarity with Vilakazi’s mindset.

Arrows coach Komphela spoke to the media ahead of his meeting with a former colleague in Vilakazi and refused to let his side underestimate the overall quality of Richards Bay.

The experienced mentor also expressed how he feels Vilakazi’s ‘inside knowledge’ of him and Arrows would factor in how the game turns out.

“They’re still a good team, they have a lot of good players. You can’t underestimate the power they have as well as the speed,” he said.

“It happens sometimes in football that the players you have are not exactly at the level of expectation in terms of points and that does not make them a bad team, they are dangerous and it is a derby.”

He added: “It is further compounded by the fact that the coach worked with us, he understands our DNA, he knows exactly how we think and how we behave, and I worked with him so it's not that I just joined Arrows and now there's a new element, he knows how I think (as well).”

Arrows themselves are looking to build on the bit of confidence they have with top eight aspirations still high.

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