Golden Arrows coach Clinton Larsen wary of KZN rivals Maritzburg United
Posted: 26 July 2018 Time: 14:00
Golden Arrows coach Clinton Larsen has a decent record when facing his former club Maritzburg United, but is mindful the Team of Choice have made great strides ahead of their season-opener on August 5.
Since Larsen traded Bloemfontein Celtic for Arrows in December 2015 and effectively swapped jobs with Serame Letsoaka, he has registered two wins, four draws and one loss to Maritzburg in all competitions.
Before meeting in their first league game of 2018/19, the KwaZulu-Natal neighbours - who played to goalless and 1-1 stalemates in the Absa Premiership last term - will first face off in the KZN Premier’s Cup quarter-finals in KwaMashu on Saturday.
"Being my former club doesn’t mean anything to myself and [assistant coach] Mandla Ncikazi. As you know we both coached there, that doesn’t mean anything to us,” Larsen tells KickOff.com.
“Our focus is only at our team. Yes, we've got a good record against them but this is a good Maritzburg team and we give them respect after what they achieved last season. I think a lot of pressure is on them to do that [again]," he added, referring to Maritzburg's best-ever fourth-place finish in the league in 2017/18 and maiden Nedbank Cup final appearance.
“But for us it’s simple, we just want to get off to a good start. The most important thing for us is not who the opposition is and who we beat; the important thing is the points ... we don’t care what the name of the team is we are up against. That is what we’ll be focusing on.
“We have also managed to get a good start in the last two seasons and we hope to make it three in a row.”
Arrows started last season brightly, as evidenced by Larsen winning his first PSL Coach of the Month award in September 2017. However, Larsen says injuries disrupted their modestly-assembled squad.
“I explained this, because we had Kuda Mahachi being injured, Lehlohonolo Nonyane being injured. We had Matome Mathiane being injured. We had four or five players injured,” Larsen says.
“Danny Phiri was out for six months. All these were players were starters. Small teams like Arrows, you are going to feel it very, very hard. We went through a slump especially last season when we missed those key, senior players during that period.
“This time I’m hoping for less injuries. When you have a small squad like us, a young squad like us ... when you lose these experienced players it really puts you under pressure.
“We are hoping that we have an injury free-season and that’ll give us a good, good chance of competing much better.”
Meanwhile, Larsen confirmed Arrows are awaiting a work permit for new Zimbabwean left-back signing Devine Lunga.