A five-match winless spell has seen Arrows drop to 10th position, overtaken by Maritzburg United, Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates. Another negative result, against a Baroka outfit fighting for their PSL lives, could kill Arrows’ shot at a top eight finish.
After Saturday’s match at the Princess Magogo Stadium they visit Cape Town City and host Pirates in back-to-back cup and league assignments. With the Cape side enjoying a fairytale run, and still having a mathematical chance of winning the Absa Premiership, it would be a difficult challenge to upset them in their home territory.
To avoid last day dramas against Pirates, and to get back into contention, Arrows would do themselves a favour by banking full points against Baroka, especially with home ground advantage.
Without defensive midfield anchor Musa Bilankulu, who is suspended, this becomes an even trickier tie. However coach Clinton Larsen will draw positives from his charges’ fighting spirit when they secured a last gasp draw at Kaizer Chiefs last weekend.
That result knocked Chiefs out of the title hunt, and helped Arrows maintain their record of not having lost three games in a row this season.
In that barren run of five games Arrows lost to Bidvest Wits and Mamelodi Sundowns, the main championship contenders.
Larsen won’t hold that against his players. Instead he will remind them that during the five-game dip they still did the business in the Nedbank Cup, knocking out Platinum Stars to secure a semi-final date with Pirates.
However Baroka are on the rise. They come to Durban on the back of a 2-2 mid-week draw at Sundowns, a result that will have their squad oozing confidence.
With one defeat in their last eight league outings Baroka are enjoying better form than Abafana Bes’thende, and will fancy their chances of bagging a victory.
It’s a six-pointer weekend in the relegation zone. Baroka’s rivals, Highlands Park and Chippa United face off in Tembisa tonight. Victory for Highlands will see them get off the bottom and overtake Baroka and Chippa.
It will be an equally tense weekend for local First Division rivals AmaZulu and Royal Eagles. Both head into Sunday’s final round with a chance of grabbing the final play-off spot.
AmaZulu in third place occupy the final play-off position, but could be overtaken if they fail to overcome FC Cape Town in the Mother City.