Bumper day for fans

2010-10-23 00:00

WHILE AmaZulu and Kaizer Chiefs will enjoy the more glamorous setting in one of two high-profile Telkom Knockout first-round matches to take place in Durban today and tonight, it could be the tie between Lamontville Golden Arrows and Orlando Pirates that enjoys the fairer share of top-class action.

It’s a bumper day for football fans in KZN. The more energetic will fill their cars, load their bakkies and taxis and make an afternoon and an evening of it, heading first for today’s 3 pm kickoff between the Buccaneers and Arrows at Chatsworth Stadium, then hot-tailing it to Moses Mabhida Stadium for AmaZulu’s match against Chiefs at 8.15 pm.

Heat permitting, it is the afternoon clash that anyone taking in both games might find more entertaining.

Arrows, easily the most talented squad in KwaZulu-Natal, have started the season very well under Serbian coach Zoran Filipovic. Playing a sophisticated brand of football, the uMlazi team’s burgeoning talents have seen them nestled in fourth place in the league.

Last season’s MTN8 winners notched up their first-ever trophy with a 6-0 thrashing of Ajax Cape Town in the final, and will now be hungry to add more silverware to the cupboard.

Pirates … who ever knows what’s really going on at Pirates. The Buccaneers won this season’s MTN8 with their penalties victory against Moroka Swallows in the final, and looked to be the form team in the country as they followed that up with a 2-1 league defeat of title favourites Mamelodi Suindowns.

Then they lost 1-0 at home to until-then second-last Mpumalanga Black Aces in midweek. It’s hard to fathom.

Nonetheless Bucs have at times played some stirring football this season under Ruud Krol, and this afternoon will look to bounce back from the weekend’s shock defeat.

“We cannot live in the past; the Aces match is behind us and we have to look forward,” Bucs midfielder Daine Klate said.

“I feel no need for us to panic after losing that match. Of course, we feel bad for losing, but what matters for now is how determined we are to bounce back.”

Arrows will aim to overwhelm the Pirates defence with their host of dangerous attackers, including Njabulo Manqana, Philani Shange and Thamsanqa Gabuza, orchestrated by midfielders Siyabonga Nkosi and Thanduyise Khuboni.

Left-back Mzuvukile Tom has been a major source of Arrows’ play on overlapping runs.

“I don’t want to put too much pressure on us,” new signing Nkosi said. “We have done well so far this season and it’s only fitting that we take our good performance to Saturday against Pirates.

“In recent games we have been impressive and we are well prepared to take on any side. The Telkom Knockout is a big tournament that all of us at Arrows want to win.”

Chiefs have had a steady start to the season and are in third place in the league. While they do not have quite the depth of some of the other challengers for silverware, Amakhosi have played some neat football under Serbian Vladimir Vermezovic.

Chiefs are waiting on an update on the hip injury to star midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala, which was picked up in Bafana Bafana’s 0-0 Afcon qualifying draw away against Sierra Leone. Solid central defender Dominic Isaacs is suspended.

AmaZulu have not had the best of starts under new coach Manqoba Mngqithi, and will look for an improvement tonight. The coach said he expects a more attacking approach from Chiefs than in his side’s 1-0 defeat against SuperSport United at Moses Mabhida at the weekend.

“When you’re playing a team like Chiefs you expect them to come at you,” Mngqithi said.

ON TV

Arrows v Pirates, Chatsworth, 3 pm – live on SABC1

AmaZulu v Chiefs, Moses Mabhida, 8.15 pm – live on SuperSport 4

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