Larsen: These teams are our real rivals
Posted: 29 August 2018 Time: 17:00
Golden Arrows coach Clinton Larsen has urged his players to show the same grit they displayed against Cape Town City when they host Polokwane City tonight at Princess Magogo Stadium (19h30).
Arrows frustrated Benni McCarthy's side at Cape Town Stadium on August 18, and if Danny Venter had tucked his chance away at the death and Knox Mutizwa got better purchase on a header the Durban-based outfit would've been home and dry on the day.
It is worth noting that City also didn't have a shot on target throughout the contest, leaving coach McCarthy pulling his hair out in frustration.
However, on this occasion Arrows entertain a Polokwane City team carrying a good record from six previous league meetings. Arrows have lost only once, won twice and drawn three times. The Limpopo side was the first club Larsen faced when he took over as Abafana Bes'thende boss in December 2015. Former Orlando Pirates and now Black Leopards striker Mwape Musonda netted the only goal of that game to ensure Larsen enjoyed a positive homecoming.
Larsen considers Jozef Vukusic's side to be direct competitiors given they both sport modestly assembled squads.
"It was a performance that had so many positives. We created a lot of chances and you know we could've got three points in the end," Larsen tells KickOff.com regarding the goalless draw against the Citizens.
"We had Venter's chance and Mutizwa's header in the small box straight to the keeper. On another day those two chances in the second half would've gone in. Also [Siboniso] Conco hit the crossbar, so we had moments where we could've scored. Creating those chances was very positive for us.
"And to also go toe-to-toe with Cape Town City who I believe is a strong team, so it says a lot about our team and the growth within our team.
"Now it is Polokwane City and they are in our league like your Highlands Park, these type of teams in our league. You know you got the big five and outside the big five it's teams that we see ourselves competing with for the top-eight position.
"We recently lost to Bloemfontein Celtic, who we also see in our group. So it is important to bounce back in our next home game against Polokwane City and get maximum points."
While the two other KwaZulu-Natal teams opened their cheque books to recruit players, Arrows only signed three players - Divine Lunga from Chicken Inn in Zimbabwe, Siyanda Zwane on loan from Mamelodi Sundowns, and Joao Moreira from Hibernians in Malta.
Kuda Mahachi went to Orlando Pirates, Thomas Chideu returned to Zimbabwe, Jabulani Shongwe went to Chippa United after the end of his loan deal with Bidvest Wits, while Lehlohonolo Nonyane and Yusuf Yappie were both released after their contracts ended, with the latter landing up at Free State Stars.
Larsen reiterated that Arrows first look to promote from within their own ranks.
"Like I said to you before, we promoted players from the MultiChoice Diski team and you've seen already [Nkanyiso[ Sibisi has played, Conco has played, [Sphamandla] Sabela has played. It's all their first time in the PSL," he says.
"This season alone three players were promoted. Yes, Conco played once last season against Kaizer Chiefs [in the Nedbank Cup round of 32 in February], but if you look at it already he has played three games. So it is three players already who virtually never played last season that have been playing this season.
"We'll rather give our young players an opportunity than just go out and sign a player for the sake of having numbers."
In a squad that is thin in terms of numbers, Arrows tonight will be without Andile Fikizolo, Matome Mathiane, Velemseni Ndwandwe, Siyanda Zwane and Zolani Nkombelo, who is expected to return in November from a broken foot.