Wrongs of last season turn out to be positives

2014-11-16 15:00

Staying true to the idiom of making lemonade when life gives you lemons, the wrongs from last season have turned out to be positives as Golden Arrows adapt to life in the National First Division (NFD).

“We are more organised in defence as our downfall last season was conceding a lot of goals [50 in 30 league fixtures], something that led to our relegation,” said coach Shaun Bartlett.

His side boasts the best defensive record and have conceded four goals in 10 NFD matches.

“We went eight games without conceding and this has helped us lay the foundation for our solid start in the NFD,” said Bartlett.

Abafana Bes’thende are leading the pack with 22 points from 10 matches in their unbeaten run so far, the third week that they have occupied the top spot.

FC Cape Town, who are placed fifth, are the only other side yet to lose a match in the NFD.

Bartlett said his side had also rediscovered their scoring form.

He added this would also go a long way towards realising their dreams of an immediate return to the Absa Premiership.

“As a former striker, I was a bit more concerned that we were not scoring enough and the technical team came with a strategy to sharpen our attack,” said Bartlett.

“We scored eight goals in our last three games and the youngsters are playing with a lot of energy now.”

Another turning point for the team was to yank striker Vusumuzi Vilakazi (32) out of retirement to lend more experience to the attack.

Vilakazi retired prematurely two years ago and became the club’s media officer before he was recalled to lace up his boots this season.

He has scored once in his two appearances so far. “He has not done the preseason training, but he still has the ability,” said Bartlett.

Vilakazi said: “I was asked to help with instilling confidence in the young players because we have a completely new squad.

“It was difficult when we started the season because most teams were a closed book to us.”

Bartlett and Vilakazi said they were under pressure to maintain their promising start – there is a narrow gap separating the top eight sides.

Arrows, who lead Milano United by three points at the top, face a testing time with two derbies against Royal Eagles (on Saturday), Thanda Royal Zulu (November 30) and Vasco da Gama (November 26) in between the two games.

Arrows were relegated to the NFD after almost 14 seasons in the elite league.

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