Euro football comes to Arrows

2010-07-16 00:00

A NEW era beckons for Lamontville Golden Arrows players and fans alike this coming season and beyond as they are expected to apply modern European football in their approach.

This message was delivered by Arrows’ newly-appointed Serbian coach, Zoran Filipovic, when he was presented to the press yesterday afternoon in Durban.

The 54-year old former Montenegro national team coach, who signed a two-year deal with a year’s option, replaces Manqoba Mngqithi, who has teamed up with Durban rivals AmaZulu.

For many years, Arrows have been renowned for their slick-passing township football, an approach that has won them admirers countrywide.

In bagging their first-ever cup last season, the MTN 8, this approach was perfected in the 6-0 annihilation of Ajax Cape Town at Orlando Stadium.

With Filipovic, who has no work experience in Africa, set to introduce a more European mindset, it would be interesting to see how the players adapt to the new style.

Outlining his plans for the coming season and beyond, Filipovic said: “I will teach my players how to play modern European football. This will be fused with offensive football because as a former striker, I like to see goals. You will see fancy football and many goals being scored by us.”

Asked how he thinks he will adapt to South African conditions since he will be working here for the first time, Filipovic said: “Firstly, I am privileged to be here in South Africa so close after the World Cup.

“There is no doubt there’s huge potential to develop further and I am happy that I am working with the club that takes its development seriously. I got the DVDs of Golden Arrows before I came here. I must say I was impressed with what I saw and the overall standard of football in the country.”

Abafana Bes’thende chairperson Mato Madlala said the decision to hire Filipovic was based on his vast international experience and his having worked with junior, national and senior teams.

“Our vision and his are the same. Our main interest is the grooming of players. We put emphasis on youth development and if you check his CV, you will see a number of stars he has produced,” Madladla said.

“His coming here will not be solely for the purpose of working with the senior team, but also our development structures. We are looking at seeing our players developing into international stars and we believe in their natural abilities.”

With Arrows having raised expectations by winning the MTN8 last season, Madlala reassured supporters that the team is still aiming for success in the coming campaign.

“In this club we use a different yardstick to determine the success of the club and we have discussed that with the coach. This includes ensuring that our players’ performances improve both individually and as a team from the previous season. At least reaching the final will be vital for the way forward,” Madlala said.

Last season saw midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi join Fulham in the English Premiership from Arrows and recently defender Siyabonga Sangweni and defensive midfielder Thanduyise Khuboni were drafted into the Bafana Bafana World Cup squad.

Madlala said this should inspire the current team to work to emulate the mentioned players. “They must continue to work hard to attract junior and senior national team selection.”

Madlala said Filipovic, who had great success as a player in the 1970s and 1980s with Serbian side Red Star Belgrade and Portuguese outfit Benfica, will inherit the current technical staff that comprises a mix of Brazilian and local personnel.

With roughly six weeks to kick off the 2010/11 season, the new coach will engage in nationwide camps to assess his team, Madlala added.

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