DURBAN – Will Lamontville Golden Arrows be hurt by their former players when they visit AmaZulu on Saturday?
Usuthu will meet with Abafana Bes’thende in what should be a mouth-watering Absa Premiership tussle at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi at 3.30pm.
Mabhuti Khenyeza, Thembela Sikhakhane, Bongi Ntuli and Nhlanhla Vilakazi all made their Premier Soccer League debuts in the colours of Arrows.
They are now integral parts of Usuthu. Sikhakhane is the vital cog at right back, while Vilakazi is an imperial figure in the middle of the park, and Ntuli is the source of inspiration upfront with his work-rate and important goals.
Khenyeza’s experience upfront is always key for Usuthu. The 36-year-old talisman made his debut in top-flight football in 2002 with Arrows. He spent five years at Arrows before moving to Kaizer Chiefs in 2007.
He made his return to Arrows for his second stint in 2015, when Abafana Bes’thende were in the National First Division.
Khenyeza was one of the colossal figures as Arrows gained promotion in to the PSL in 2016.
Ntuli is another one who burst onto the scene with Arrows in 2012.
He dazzled in Lamontville for two seasons before moving to Mamelodi Sundowns in 2014.
Ntuli will be his usual self against his former side on Saturday. When he is around, defenders don’t get any breathing space. He is fast, physically strong and very dangerous in the air.
Vilakazi will be looking to orchestrate things in the middle of the park. He will be up against Danny Phiri and Thabo Molefe.
Vilakazi started his professional career with Abafana Bes’thende back in 2008, but left in 2009 to join Bay United. He will be looking to get one over on his former side.
Sikhakhane also began his career at Arrows in 2013, spending three years there before joining Orlando Pirates. Sikhakhane is on loan at Usuthu from the Buccaneers.
Sikhakhane will be looking to keep Arrows at bay, while Vilakazi will be expected to make things happen in the middle of the park, and the duo of Khenyeza and Ntuli will be tasked with scoring goals.
Arrows and AmaZulu are separated by one place and three points on the log. Abafana Bes’thende are on 16 points after 14 games. They are 10th on the log.
On the other hand, Usuthu are on 13 points after 14 games and they are 11th on the log.
AmaZulu will be looking to get on level terms with Arrows and keep their unbeaten run at home intact.
They are yet to be beaten at home in the league this season.
Arrows have managed to get points in difficult places like Cape Town, Free State, Bidvest Stadium and Mbombela Stadium this season. They will be fancying themselves to get one over their sworn rivals.
Match day experience for soccer fans: Kick For A Million
To build on the success of the competition from last season, Absa is once again changing many lives through the Kick for Million competition throughout the 2018/19 Absa Premiership season.
On match day, six fans are chosen ahead of the start of the game at the respective stadium to kick against an Absa Premiership legendary goalkeeper in a sudden death competition during halftime.
At the end of the contest, each runner-up will receive R1,000 and the winner of the round will take home R5,000.
The winner of the final round then automatically becomes a finalist to Kick for a Million at the trophy handover match at the end of the season in May 2019.
In the build-up to Saturday's KZN derby, Absa will host roadshows in Umlazi on Thursday, December 20 at Mega City Mall from 1pm to 5pm and Friday, December 21 at Eyadini Lounge from 3pm – 5pm.
And on match day, Absa will be bringing fans the ultimate match day experience through the Woza Nazo Absa Red Zone, where over a 1 000 soccer fans will get access to an exclusive area where there will be entertainment, food, refreshments and Woza Nazo merchandise ahead of the match.
The Absa Red Zone will be located on the outer field at King Zwelithini stadium, and open from 12pm until 2.30pm on December 22.@Minenhlecr7