Larsen unsurprised by solid Highlands

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Larsen previously served as an assist coach to Da Gama at Bloemfontein Celtic before ‘ODG’ joined Ephraim Mashaba in the Bafana Bafana set-up.

Highlands have held their own since gaining promotion as runaway NFD champions last term following draws with Pirates, Black Leopards, Mamelodi Sundowns and Baroka.

"I'm not surprised because I know the one season I worked with Owen I know he put a lot of emphasis on making sure that his team is well-structured, well- organised," Larsen told KickOff.com ahead of men's clash with Highlands at Makhulong Stadium at 15h00.

"So I'm not surprised. And let's not forget, Owen has also got the experience now from the national team, which has developed him even further as a coach.

"So we all know his team is going to be difficult to beat, but it is up to our attacking players to find a way through that organised defence."

Abafana Bes'thende beat the Lions of the North 1-0 and 2-1 when they were previously in the Absa Premiership in 2016/17. Asked about maintaining that winning record, Larsen points out much has changed since then.

"Statistics are just numbers, this is a different team with a different coach," Larsen said.

"We are also a different team from what we were back then, so let's see how it goes."

Larsen said Malawian Limbikani Mzava, Namibian Maximilian Mbaeva and Zimbabwean trio Danny Phiri, Divine Lunga and Knox Mutizwa all returned to Arrows injury-free from international duty.

However, Siyanda Zwane, Velemseni Ndwandwe and Zolani Nkombelo have been ruled out of the game with knocks, while Nkanyiso Cele and Sandile Zuke are doubtful after recently returning to training.

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