Bilankulu: No plain sailing for Downs
Posted: 10 December 2017 Time: 12:00
Golden Arrows midfielder Musa Bilankulu says upcoming opponents Mamelodi Sundowns have also had their challenges this season.
Abafana Bes'thende will host high-flying Sundowns at Princess Magogo Stadium on Sunday (15h30) looking to snap a nine-game winless run, having lost 2-1 at Free State Stars in midweek.
Downs are two points richer than Arrows with three games in hand following a recent 4-0 rout of Baroka.
However, the Tshwane giants have not had it all their way in 2017/18 as they suffered early MTN8 and Telkom Knockout exits and saw their CAF Champions League title defence end in the quarter-finals.
"Even they [Downs] have had their ups and downs but no one was taking that into consideration," said Bilankulu, who is back in contention after being suspended against Ea Lla Koto.
"I believe we started well this season but now it's nine games without a win, not nine games without losing. We have been drawing most of those games.
"There have been games where we were supposed to win but it happens... that is the past and we learn from those games. Now we are focusing on the next one against Sundowns this Sunday."
Arrows coach Clinton Larsen on Wednesday marked two years with the Durban-based outfit. Bilankulu says Larsen has managed to bring stability to the club while giving opportunities to youngsters.
"As a coach he has brought stability in the team. Arrows last played in the MTN8 in 2009 when we won it and we played this season," says Bilankulu.
"He has brought that stability and winning mentality and belief that the players need to play and compete more. In his first season we missed the top-eight finish with only one point. In his second season we managed to qualify for the top eight on the last day against Orlando Pirates.
"Even now we are still trying to implement the winning mentality but it seems at times we tend to relax as players. But he has brought the stability as I said and has given a lot of youngsters opportunities. It takes character from the coach to put six or seven MultiChoice Diski Challenge players in the starting line-up.
"With that said, I respect him for that. He's pushing the young players to keep working to achieve goals for themselves and for the team."