When old friends become new foes
DURBAN – Mandla Ncikazi and Manqoba Mngqithi were colossal as Lamontville Golden Arrows claimed their maiden silverware in top-flight football in 2009.
The duo propelled Abafana Bes’thende to glory in the MTN8 against Ajax Cape Town at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Arrows ran riot on the day as they thumped the Urban Warriors 6-0 to be crowned champions.
Ncikazi is still with Abafana Bes’thende while Mngqithi is currently with Mamelodi Sundowns. Mngqithi is deputy to head coach Pitso Mosimane, while Ncikazi is an assistant coach to Steve Komphela.
The pair will meet in the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout on at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium in Clermont, Durban, on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Ncikazi has expressed his desire to get one over his former colleague.
“The last time we won silverware at Arrows was in 2009 and we got promoted in 1999 and we are now in 2019. I hope that cycle will continue. That should be a good omen for Arrows,” Ncikazi said.
Abafana Bes’thende have struggled for trophies in the last couple of years. Last season they came close in the Nedbank Cup but couldn’t go all the way.
“The kind of players that we have here look the same as we had then. It will be nice to win against Manqoba sitting on the opposite bench,” Ncikazi added.
Abafana Bes’thende recently ended their bad run against Sundowns in the Premier Soccer League, beating the Brazilians 3-2.
“I wish and hope that we will apply the very same mentality that we applied against Sundowns in our league match. But it will be nice to beat Manqoba.” Ncikazi elaborated.
Mngqithi has already lifted this trophy with Sundowns before. He was present when the Brazilians dispatched Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 at the iconic Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban to reign supreme in the tournament.
He will be out to deny his former side an opportunity to taste success yet again.
Abafana Bes’thende have proven to be difficult to beat in their own territory. They are yet to taste defeat at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium this season.
Coach Komphela and his troops will be out to keep that record intact.@Minenhlecr7