André Arendse: Richards Bay seem to get a bee in their bonnet against SuperSport United

André Arendse remembers how SuperSport United lost 3-1 to Richards Bay last time round. Photo: AYANDA NDAMANE Independent Newspapers

André Arendse remembers how SuperSport United lost 3-1 to Richards Bay last time round. Photo: AYANDA NDAMANE Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 14, 2024


André Arendse has vivid memories of SuperSport United’s last trip to Richards Bay, and looking ahead to Matsatsantsa a Pitori going to KwaZulu-Natal for a Nedbank Cup tie against the Natal Rich Boyz, he admitted that nothing can be taken for granted.

The SuperSport assistant coach described it as “lovely to still be in the cup” and a “bonus to still be in the hat”, but acknowledged they are in for a tough match at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Durban on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

“Of course, coming up against Richards Bay is going to pose a challenge in itself. Firstly, they are hovering at the bottom of the table, which is an added pressure on them from a league perspective,” the former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper said.

“But they are also looking to change their focus a little bit and have a run from a different perspective in this cup.

“So, not by any means is it going to be an easy fixture – that’s for sure.”

Solely on their standings on the league table, the temptation would be to install fourth-placed SuperSport as favourites against opponents who are occupying the second-from-bottom position on the 16-team table.

Arendse remembers how SuperSport lost 3-1 to their adversaries the last time round.

“The Richards Bay trip won’t be an easy one. It was one to forget, because we had a sending off, and with one man less, it was difficult to navigate the game. On that day, even if we had 11 men on the field, they could have won that game.”

Small a club as they are, Arendse is aware of the key role played by Richards Bay’s 12th man – their fans.

“They have great home support – a little band of supporters who get so much behind them, and I could see from the bench how it got the team going,” he said.

“So, it is important to understand that. They (Richards Bay) seem to get a bee in their bonnet when they play against us.”

Three-time winners of this national knockout competition under the sponsorship of Nedbank, SuperSport have not done very well since their back-to-back success under Stuart Baxter in 2016 and 2017 – Matsatsantsa failing to progress past the first round (of 32) in every edition, except in 2022, when they got to the quarter-finals.

They have done well already this time by going past the first hurdle, and success over Richards Bay at the weekend is sure to have them confident of going all the way.

“It is a cup competition we have a good relationship with,” Arendse said in reference to SuperSport’s three victories – they also won it in 2012 under current coach Gavin Hunt.

“And we want that relationship to remain, so that we can stay in it (the cup competition) for as long as we can.”