JOHANNESBURG – Golden Arrows might have to endure a blow in the tour due to the cancellation of their match against Barcelona on Monday, but the lads from Lamontville did just enough to impress Spanish football icon Enrique ‘Quique’ Juan Medina Rodríguez during their tour of Spain.
The Blaugranas bemoaned injuries to members of both the squad that was involved in national duty and the one that lost 2-0 loss to Osasuna on Sunday evening, leading to the match being called off.
We have just been informed that due to a number of injuries in the FC Barcelona team both from National duty and games played last night, this means that they will be unable to field a team to play against us this morning, so the game has unfortunately been cancelled.
‘Quique’ is a not a ‘newbie’ to African football. He was recently the technical director at Zambian Premier League outfit Lusaka Dynamos. He’s also good friends with Mamelodi Sundowns’ Ghananian shot-stopper Razak Brimah, whom he coached at Segunda Divison Tenerife in the 2012/2013 season.
The 50-year-old says he was very impressed with Arrows's performance in their 4-2 loss to La Liga outfit Girona.
“I didn’t know the team before they came to Barcelona,’’ Rodriguez admits.
“But after the game against Girona. I received a very nice surprise because I saw several players that are at a very good level. To be honest, before the match, I thought Arrows didn’t stand a chance at all against Girona.
“After all,this was a team that beat Real Madrid in the first round of La Liga.’’
Medina, together with colleague Juanjo San Roman - the duo are clients at RG Consultants and Solutions - engaged with Abafana Bes’thende during match-day and training sessions in Barcelona. Over that period, he singled out two players as definite prospects for the future.
“I think the goalkeeper Sherwyn (Naicker) and the number 19 (Nkosinathi Sibisi) are very good. I was impressed with them,’’ Rodríguez said.
“I also liked the other players. During the training session, I tried to speak to them about moments in the game. I loved the attitude during training (on Sunday morning). When the training finished, I was very happy based on that.
He added: “I’m very pleased with how the team received me in only five days. That as well, gave me so much joy to be here with them.”
However, it was not only the duo ofNaicker and Sibisi who impressed a European coach.
Second choice goalkeeper Njabulo Cebukhulu got special mention from Atletico Madrid’s Francesco Mussachio during the team’s regeneration session at the club’s training facilities. With the newly-launched MultiChoice Diski Shield scheduled to commence on April 7,Cebukhulu will don the number one jersey because, as a 27-year-old, Naicker is over age for the competition open to players under 23 years of age.
Far from being disappointed at missing out, Naicker is actually anticipating great things for the 22-year-old.
“I think it’s time for him to showcase his talents in the Shield,” said Naicker “I’m actually positive that he’ll do well. He’s a good goalkeeper.”