Nduduzo Sibiya was born in Lamontville and he recalls, as a young boy, watching Abafana Bes’thende winning the MTN8 competition in the elite league in 2009. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix
Midfield maestro Nduduzo Sibiya has a natural affinity with Lamontville Golden Arrows and there remains a gap in his heart for as long as he has not won a trophy with the Durban Premiership outfit.

Sibiya was born in Lamontville and he recalls, as a young boy, watching Abafana Bes’thende winning the MTN8 competition in the elite league in 2009. Those images of the champions - coached by Manqoba Mngqithi - continue to make him believe that the current Arrows team he is now a part of can repeat the feat.

Today's semi-final clash between Arrows and Mamelodi Sundowns at Clermont’s Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium presents a perfect opportunity for Sibiya to help Steve Komphela’s team progress to the Telkom Knockout final, leaving them with just one game from realising his dream.

It is a grudge game, however, and Sibiya is aware of that as he was part of the victorious side when Arrows downed the Brazilians 3-2 in a league encounter two weeks ago. Abafana Bes’thende have not lost a game in Clermont this season and Sundowns would have learnt a thing or two about the pitfalls at the township stadium. So there’s nothing less than fireworks expected in this clash.

Sibiya fancies their chances and has his eye on the winners' prize. “It will be a great honour and privilege for us to win the Telkom Knockout. Arrows are from Lamontville and that’s my township. Ever since I’ve played top flight football, I’ve never won a cup. It will be special for me to win my first cup with the team from my own township. That will also inspire a lot of youngsters in my community,” Sibiya, who was 14 when Arrows won the MTN8, explained.

Sibiya is a product of development at the Durban outfit as he first played in junior sides before helping Arrows’ reserves win the Multichoice Diski League in the 2015/16 season.

“Winning this cup will be a great lesson for youngsters that if you work hard the rest will follow you. I was watching the game at home when Arrows won the 2009 MTN8. There were celebrations in the whole township. From that experience I know what a victory for Arrows can do for the community, and inspire the youngsters."

The right-winger noted that even known supporters of Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates celebrated the 2009 triumph because the victory was more for Durban's oldest township than just Arrows supporters.

Since then Arrows have failed to build on that success. They were bundled out of the Nedbank Cup semi-finals last season at Sugar Ray Xulu, losing to eventual champions TS Galaxy but now find themselves at the same level of the TKO tournament and Sibiya says they are determined to move beyond the semis.

“People supported us during our good run in the Nedbank Cup. That goes to show that people are eager to see us succeed, so we don’t want to disappoint them. Our aim is to make them proud,” Sibiya explained.

The skilful Sibiya is a man for the big occasion. He invariably dazzles in big matches and this afternoon’s showpiece could not provide a better stage for him.

“We’ve beaten Sundowns before in the cup and league. They are a top team but we believe we can play to our strengths and beat them again. I am happy they are favourites so the pressure is not on us.”

@minenhlecr7


The Star

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