JOHANNESBURG - With the Multichoice Diski Challenge (MDC) heading into the festive break, Golden Arrows could become the first team to win the title twice as they sit at the summit of the log.
Abafana Bes’thende were crowned the 2015/16 champions in the second season of the tournament.
They have already beaten teams such as Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs on their way to the top. Assistant coach, Papi Zothwane, lauded the new environment for their good campaign so far.
"Having won the title the previous season, the boys lacked the hunger last time around.
“However, this season we have changed our mentality and that’s why we are doing well. The introduction of the new boys in the squad also helped us to be where we are.’’
Arrows are on 19 points - joint with Bloemfontein Celtic, but have a better goal difference and have played a match less than Phunya Sele Sele's nine.
Arrows didn’t take part in matchday nine, after failing to board their flight to Port Elizabeth to face Chippa United on Saturday.
Zothwane confirmed that the pilot reported engine problems before take-off and the match was thus postponed.
Although Arrows hold the advantage going into the new year, Zothwane says the club will continue working hard, especially in their defence.
“Having a game in hand puts pressure on us as it can go either way. But we will continue preparing and working hard,’’ Zothwane said. “The best way to win games is by not conceding goals. We have been doing well offensively, so now our focus will be to also doing well defensively.’’
While Arrows are set to reclaim the MDC title, defending champions Sundowns have endured a terrible season so far. The Brazilians' chances of defending their title were dented when they lost the first four games of the season, conceding 11 goals in the process while only managing to score once.
With only six games remaining, they are 15th with eight points, 11 points behind the pace-setters Arrows. Coach David Notoane, bemoaned restructuring and injury to key players as the main cause of their misfortunes.
“We couldn’t hold on to the boys from last season for the sake of defending the trophy. We made a technical decision as the club, through the head coach (Pitso Mosimane), to say this season let’s allow these boys to go on loan,’’ he explained "Unfortunately, the wheels came off too early; we put on the wrong tyres. To be honest, injuries also came in. Keletso Makgalwa was out in the first four games. Thabang Sibanyoni was out for nine months.’’