Win against Pirates would be enormous for Arrows

2013-10-19 00:00

THREE of the four Telkom Knock-out quarter-finals take place today and tomorrow, but thanks to Orlando Pirates’ Caf Champions League duty in Tunisia tonight, Golden Arrows must wait until Wednesday night before taking on the Soweto giants at Orlando Stadium.

Arrows, struggling in the league this season after losing four of their six fixtures, shocked Wits 3-2 on October 4 in Johannesburg to advance to the last eight of the competition. That victory proved to be coach Manqoba Mngqithi’s last match in charge, and his resignation has seen the arrival of Englishman Mark Harrison.

Now that Arrows are just two games away from a cup final, the Lamontville-based club are treating Wednesday night’s trip to Pirates as enormously important.

On paper, Arrows shouldn’t stand a chance. They are a squad littered with youngsters, while Pirates are a seasoned, well-drilled unit under an experienced PSL coach with big names and abundant skill at his disposal.

“We are not in a good position in the league,” conceded Arrows captain and midfielder Thanduyise Khuboni. “That is why this competition [Telkom Knock-out] is so important for us now. A win on Wednesday would give the team a lot of confidence moving forward under the new coach.”

Speaking of the new coach, Khuboni said that Harrison’s introduction into the set-up has gone smoothly.

“There is not that much difference,” said the skipper. “He wants us to keep the ball and not kick it away aimlessly. He wants us to play a possession game.”

After speaking to Harrison and the players, it is apparent that the former Chippa United boss is placing a major emphasis on playing an attractive passing game that encourages speedy runs down the flanks. It all points towards an entertaining era for the Lamontville-based club, but Harrison’s induction couldn’t be tougher.

“They [Pirates] are at home. We know what they can do and we know that they will come at us with an attack the whole game,” added Khu­boni.

“But we always want to win, and we always believe that we can.”

With striker Norman Smith out injured, Harrison suggested that former Maritzburg United winger Rudi Bester is likely to be paired with Malawian international Peter Wadabwa up front.

Defender Joseph Musonda is also available, after returning unscathed from international duty with Zambia, who played against Brazil in China midweek.

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