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Golden Arrows' Clinton Larsen mindful of Nedbank Cup final factor for KwaZulu-Natal derby with Maritzburg United

Posted: 11 May 2018 Time: 18:30

Golden Arrows coach Clinton Larsen suspects Maritzburg United's players may tread carefully in their KwaZulu-Natal derby on Saturday.

The neighbours will contest their last league game of the season at Harry Gwala Stadium at 15h00, with Arrows looking to secure a top-eight finish.

Maritzburg are aiming to replace Kaizer Chiefs in third spot on the table and qualify for the CAF Confederation Cup for the first time in their history.

However, Larsen reckons Fadlu Davids' charges have one eye on their Nedbank Cup final date with Free State Stars at Cape Town Stadium on May 19.

“You know these derbies are usually very fiery affairs, lots of tackles,” Larsen tells KickOff.com.

“They also got one eye on the cup as well and I’m sure their players wouldn’t want to be injured in this game. Ja, there’s a bit of a dilemma on their side in terms of not wanting to be injured.

“I’m sure the young players want to play in the final and it’ll be interesting to see how they play this one out.”

Meanwhile, Larsen doubts the recent passing of Maritzburg striker Luyanda Ntshangase will derail the hosts. The 21-year-old was buried at Mountain Rise Cemetery in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday, having died in hospital last week after being struck by lightning during a friendly game with SAB League side Arsenal in March.

The Team of Choice have sadly endured much tragedy in the past three years, as players Mlondi Dlamini, 20, and Mondli Cele, 27, also died in car crashes in October 2017 and January 2016 respectively.

“Remember this is not the first time the club has gone through this,” Larsen said.

“They are a very strong club. They’ve got good support structures because this is the third time they’ve been dealt such a hard blow, it’s the third player.

“They have always rallied quite strongly from these tragedies and credit must go to the team for the support they give to the players.

“Players often try to play in memory of the player they’ve lost, with extra effort. They dedicate games to their lost brother, so for me they’ll put up a very strong performance.

“They’ve done it before for two players they lost and I think they’re going to do it again. But, like I said, they’re a strong club with a strong mentality. They’ve been through this before and it is something that brings them together instead of disrupting them.”

In team news, Larsen has been boosted by the return of Lerato Lamola, Zolani Nkombelo, Sandile Zuke and Siyabonga Dube, who were all suspended in the previous 3-2 win over Platinum Stars.

Thabiso Mqwaba has been released by the club after struggling to break through in Durban.

Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala
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