DURBAN – Lamontville Golden Arrows coach Clinton Larsen believes that the pressure is on Kaizer Chiefs ahead of the two sides’ Nedbank Cup last-32 clash at the FNB Stadium on Sunday.
Though it is his team that will go into the match on the back of a 2-1 defeat to AmaZulu while Chiefs drew at Bidvest Wits, Larsen believes the Amakhosi will be the ones feeling the heat.
“It could work on both ways,” he said of the impact of the defeat on his team.
“It can be a motivation to bounce back and that’s one thing we always talk to the boys about. We tell them to show character and bounce back from a defeat.
“We are not pessimistic, but we are optimistic. We don’t look on to the negative side of things. We always look on the positive side. We look ahead to the Chiefs game and to progressing to the next round.
“For us, we don’t think negatively and we try to instill that in our players. Always be positive and if you have that mindset, things will always turn around,” Larsen explained.
While Chiefs are known as cup specialists, they are yet to win any trophy under Steve Komphela’s guidance in two and a half seasons.
During the first season under Komphela they reached two cup finals but lost both of them. Not that Larsen draws his confidence from that. Instead he is bouyed by a result from earlier this season.
“The draw that we got from Chiefs (in the league) really showed that we can go away and get results.
“We’ve proven before that we can get good results in away trips. They know it won’t be easy. Our games against them are always close and this one will be no different.
“There’s less pressure on us. All the pressure is on them to win a trophy. It doesn’t look like they will win the league. I think they are realistic, probably saying to themselves if Sundowns continues to get results, the chances of catching them are very slim.
“I think they will put all their effort to try and win this cup. So all the pressure is on Kaizer Chiefs for this game, which is a good thing for us. We have to really bring our A-game against Chiefs."
And the Arrows coach will be keen to see his team improve on last season’s semifinal showing in the country’s premier knockout competition.
Achieve that and Abafana Bes’thende will be on line to adding to their only trophy in the elite league, the 2009 MTN8 title they won by wallopping Ajax Cape Town 6-0 in Orlando.
Unlike Komphela, Larsen has already lifted a trophy as a coach courtesy of the Telkom Knockout title he won while in charge of Bloemfontein Celtic in 2012 over Mamelodi Sundowns.
“The cup is a nice reprieve from the league matches and we look forward to taking our minds off the stresses of the league and try and have a good cup run.
“All the teams want to finish on a high, especially those that are out of the title race and are saying ‘this is our only opportunity to win the silverware’.
“Last season we came close to reaching the final, and hopefully we have a good run and try to achieve that this season.”