Absa Premiership

Larsen optimistic Arrows can maintain title challenge

Clinton Larsen (Gallo Images)
Clinton Larsen (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Golden Arrows coach Clinton Larsen believes the club can maintain their Absa Premiership title challenge in 2017/18, as he has a virtually full strength squad to call upon.

Arrows are currently second on the table after a bright start to the campaign and trail leaders Baroka by just two points.

And Larsen, whose team enjoyed a similar positive start last season before slumping in the second half of 2016/17, says this season will be different.

Speaking to TimesLIVE website, Larsen said the return of first team regulars such as Matome Mathiane, Lehlohonolo Nonyane and Danny Phiri could make a real difference.

He explained: "We have been very fortunate in that we’ve managed to get some of our key players back quickly. Mathiane was out and Nonyane just started full training a week ago and has missed six or seven games and then we’ve got [Danny] Phiri out.

"That’s three first-team regulars‚ out long‚ but back now‚ bar Danny Phiri. And if we keep the squad like this we’ll always be competitive. But with the size of squad we’ve got we’ll always have challenges if we have injuries to senior players.

"Having too many youngsters in at the same time doesn’t keep you up - that’s been proven time and time again. They need lots of time together to develop and to gain the experience to play at this level.

"Last season definitely has helped. I see a lot more maturity in our young players. We’ve seen them grow. There were situations last season when we couldn’t see games out and didn’t have the character to come back after we had conceded. 

"We’ve seen a different mentally this time round and I think that is because of the maturity and the experience they have gained over the last 12 to 18 months. I do believe we can remain competitive until the end if we keep our key players fit and healthy."

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