Komphela rejoices as Arrows defeat Polokwane City

Sifiso Mlungwana of Golden Arrows. Picture: BackpagePix

Sifiso Mlungwana of Golden Arrows. Picture: BackpagePix

Published Mar 10, 2024


Sifiso Mlungwana of Golden Arrows. Picture: BackpagePix

Matshelane Mamabolo

Polokwane City 0

Golden Arrows (0) 1

Sibiya 85

Steve Komphela ran like a spring chicken to join his players in celebrating the goal that saw Golden Arrows bring an end to a run of 11 successive defeats as they beat Polokwane City 1-0 here on Sunday.

The nomadic coach, who returned for a second spell at Arrows having previously been in charge of 10 other clubs in his 22 years of top-flight management, justified his appointment immediately. It was the inspired change he made in the second half that made all the difference, substitute Nduduzo Sibiya scoring the match’s solitary goal via a well-taken left-footed shot from inside the box.

For the entire match, Komphela had patrolled the touchline like a father pacing up and down the maternity ward in anticipation of the birth of his first child.

His delight knew no bounds as Sibiya’s shot nestled into the net, the excitement and relief resembling that of a man who has just heard the first cries of his newly born child. And this could well be the rebirth of an Arrows side that was seemingly on a fast track to oblivion under Mabhuti Khenyeza.

Komphela made just two changes to the starting line up that lost to Kaizer Chiefs in Arrows’ last match, but when Abafana Bes’thende struggled to make headway, he made five more and one of those was Sibiya, who scored the winner.

The hosts had a few chances that could have gone to the half-time break in the lead, but they fluffed all of them – Douglas Mapfumo being the main culprit as he wasted three good opportunities. He was initially denied by Arrows goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana on 20 minutes following a good counter-attack.

Then he wasted two quickfire chances around the half-hour mark. He first shot straight at Mlungwana following yet another counter-attack by the home side. Almost immediately thereafter, he inexplicably missed the target when faced with just the goalkeeper after being gifted by Arrows defender Gladwin Shitolo, whose attempt at a clearance succeeded in only directing the ball to Mapfumo.

Shortly before half-time, City had a free kick near the penalty box arc, but the attempt got deflected to a corner which they failed to use.

Though they mainly fought a rearguard battle in the initial stanza, Arrows looked threatening when they ventured forward with Knox Mutizwa taking some pot shots at Manuel Sapunga, who enjoyed partisan support from about 10 of his flag-waving, vociferous Equatorial Guinea compatriots.

He nearly let them down on 16 minutes when he passed the ball directly to the opposition, but Nhlanhla Zwane failed to punish him. But Sibiya then smashed the goal that will have everyone lauding Komphela as a game changer.