Al Ahly head coach Pitso Mosimane has lavished praise on Golden Arrows manager Mandla Ncikazi as he launches an unexpected title challenge to Mamelodi Sundowns.
Ncikazi was promoted from assistant coach at Arrows after Steve Komphela moved on to become the first-team coach as part of the trio alongside Manqoba Mngqithi and Rhulani Mokwena at Sundowns during the off-season.
While the 52-year-old held experience of managing Maritzburg United briefly in 2015, his incredible 2020/21 campaign has silenced all doubters who criticised chairman Mato Madlala's decision to hand him the reigns.
With only two defeats and the joint top scorers (30) with Cape Town City in the division, Abafana Bes'thende are currently second in the league and four points off leaders Sundowns albeit having played two more games.
This has caught the attention of Mosimane, who admitted earlier this year that he's been following the DStv Premiership with a close eye since relocating to Cairo with the record nine-time African champions.
"Chairperson, Mato Madlala since she bought the club, believed in coaches who come from Townships. The spirit of Rocky Madlala is still alive," he wrote on social media.
"Mandla Ncikazi has taken the team to where it has never been before. We are very proud of you coach!"
With Arrows' next fixture against Swallows on 3 April due to the FIFA international break, Ncikazi admits there's both positives and negatives during this period but issued a warning that they will look to iron out their deficiencies.
Scroll through the gallery below to see the top scorers in the 2020/21 DStv Premiership
"We welcome the break because we needed to recover some players so they can be ready for the right schedule which is forthcoming," Ncikazi said.
"On the other side, you don’t want to lose the momentum, the rhythm… I am not sure whether it is welcome or not. But we have the beak and we will deal with it."
He added: "There are aspects in our game that we need to improve, we are not as clinical in front of goal. For a number is scoring chances we create.
"I think we should be scoring more, I do appreciate that the team is the best scorers currently with Cape Town City, we have 30 goals and that’s good for us.
"We would however like to decrease a bit in conceding. If we are best scorers, we would love to also be best defensively."