DURBAN - Clinton Larsen is targeting his second Telkom Knockout triumph, with Lamontville Golden Arrows this time around, having won the same competition with Bloemfontein Celtic in 2012.
The Wentworth-born tactician will welcome Baroka FC at home in the first round of this year’s TKO. The Premier Soccer League (PSL) is yet to confirm the dates and venues for the opening round.
Larsen won his maiden trophy as coach back in 2012 when he was still at Bloemfontein Celtic. His first piece silverware, the TKO, was won at the expense of Mamelodi Sundowns at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. Larsen wants to go as far as possible in this year’s edition of the TKO.
“Every small team is always looking forward to cup competitions. We are also a small team. We will try and have a good run and see if we can have the silverware,” optimistic Larsen explained.
Arrows haven’t won a cup since breaking their duck in an emphatic fashion in 2009 when they hammered Ajax Cape Town 6-0 to lift the MTN8 crown at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. They came close in 2017, reaching the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup but succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against Orlando Pirates at Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu.
“The chances of us doing a Leicester City (who shocked the masses in 2015/16 to win the English Premier League after almost getting relegated in 2014/15) are almost impossible in the PSL with the strength of the big four (Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Wits, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs).
"We will always be gunning for the cup. This cup is only the 16 Premier League teams. Sometimes if the draw favours you, you get a little luck along the way, ending up in the semi-final or in the final. Hopefully we will try and achieve that this season," he added.
TK02018 Baroka FC host Abafana Bes’thende
The Telkom Knockout Cup 2018 last 16 draw took place at the SuperSport studios this evening. We drew an way game against Baroka FC for our first fixture in this seasons installment of the competition. read more https://t.co/ijFX4LtDcZ pic.twitter.com/xitnyVpCfc
Abafana Bes’thende are the only side from KwaZulu-Natal to win a knockout competition during the PSL era. Manning Rangers won the inaugural league championship in 1996/97. They also lost against Moroka Swallows 3-1 in the final of the ABSA Cup in 2004.
Arrows lifted the MTN8 in 2009 and AmaZulu were dispatched by Bidvest Wits in the final of the Nedbank Cup in 2010. Last season, Maritzburg United went all the way to the final of the Nedbank Cup but stumbled at the last hurdle as they lost 1-0 to Free State Stars. Usuthu were the last team from KwaZulu-Natal to win this competition when it was still called the Coca-Cola Cup.
“We have to take it one game at a time. We have more time to prepare for our next game. We are heading into the break with the mood high (after beating Black Leopards 1-0 at home this past weekend). We will try and follow up this result with another positive result. We have to back this win with another win in order for us to push on,” Larsen elaborated.