MADRID – Golden Arrows’ reserve team safely landed in Spain on Sunday after a nine-hour trip from OR Tambo International Airport to Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas.
The trip is the team’s prize for winning this year’s edition of the Multichoice Diski Challenge (MDC). Arrows are scheduled to spend 10 days on Spanish shores.
Their tour will be divided between Madrid and Barcelona respectively.
Prior to the team’s arrival here at the ILunion Pio Xll Hotel, Arrows were scheduled to take part in a light training session, but coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi decided to take his team for a 20-minute walk instead.
Vilakazi says that he cancelled the training because he felt that the team deserved to take time off and relax from the long hours of travelling.
“We spent a lot of time on the flight, so when we arrived, we made sure that there’s nothing that we do, so that we can allow the players to rest,” Vilakazi said.
“After breakfast, we then decided that we take a walk instead of training, so that they can stretch their legs. Since it’s our first day, there won’t be activities.”
Chilli weather in this side of the world but Arrows were generous to greet the locals during their walk this morning pic.twitter.com/WSsggsOHcM
During their time here in Spain, Abafana Bes’thende will be play three friendly matches – against Rayo Vallecano, Barcelona and Espanyol.
Vilakazi and his charges will get proceedings under way on Monday against Vallecano, who ply their trade in the reserve league of Segunda Division (Second Division of La Liga Santander).
The 35-year-old says that the little knowledge they have about their opposition has restricted them to stick to their normal game plan.
“We never got a chance to see the other teams properly – besides Barcelona – we only had a glanced of them on the clips. And that was not the true reflection of how they play,” Vilakazi insisted on Vallecano and Espanyol.
“That actually makes us to focus on our game-model more. We have to be tactically disciplined going forward. In the first 10-15 minutes of the game, it is then that I am going to be able to see their strengths and weaknesses.
“However, I am sure once we’ve settled, we can then analyse other teams thoroughly.”
South African Embassy based here in Spain,Mr Smuts Ngonyama with Arrows team.
He read a letter from Sports Minister. pic.twitter.com/ftg5IpQhBL
On the other hand, Nkosinathi Sibisi, who’s the team captain and most experienced player in the squad, believes that they already know how they will handle Vallecano.
“We have a game plan for Vallecano,” Sibisi said with a chuckle.
“We know how we want to play… we have to be compact and not concede early. We want to score the first goal, and we’ll then take it from there.’’
Prior to today’s game, Abafana Bes’thende were treated to a live encounter at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Sunday night.
It was a match that saw talisman Cristiano Ronaldo registering a quadruple, leading his team to a 6-3 win over Girona.
Arrows also received a special visit from the South African Embassy’s office, led by Ambassador Smuts Ngonyama.
Ngonyama also read a letter he received from Sports and Recreation Minister Tokozile Xasa, who wished the team all the best during the tour.