After a modest mid-table finish in 2018-19, Golden Arrows will be hungry for an improved performance in 2019-20. They do not boast the most spectacular squad in the league, but they do have a highly respected coach in Steve Komphela.
Abafana Bes’thende have offloaded the likes of Wayde Jooste, Limbikani Mzava and Sandile Zuke with Gladwin Shitolo their only big name acquisition — and even he has only been brought in on loan from Orlando Pirates.
However, Arrows remain an outfit capable of making the top eight. Last season, they only missed out by a mere four points. There have been positive signs in pre-season as Arrows eased to victory in the KZN Premier’s Cup, beating Real Kings 2-0 in the final.
That will mean nothing once the regular season kicks off with a derby against Maritzburg United on Sunday 4 August at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium. The first Durban derby of the season against local rivals AmaZulu is scheduled for 14 September and this is a fixture which draws significant fanfare.
The resignation of Stuart Baxter as South African national team coach has prompted speculation that Komphela could be in line for the Bafana Bafana job.
Jack Maluleka, who heads the SAFA Technical committee seeking to appoint Baxter’s replacement, did little to pour water over the flames.
“He [Komphela] is one of my favourite coaches in the country because he has proved to be one of the best technicians in South Africa‚” Maluleka was quoted as saying by TimesLIVE.
“Should it happen that he is one of the applicants and he is given the opportunity‚ I have no doubt that he will do better. He is one of the best coaches in SA.
“[Gavin Hunt] is also a good coach and good tactician and his record in the PSL speaks for itself.
“As for Benni‚ people are correct to say that he is one for the future. I also believe that he is a very good coach and I don’t think there will be many people who can argue against that.
“You can see that Benni is willing to grow and get better and I am sure that he will help South African football.
“There are a lot of coaches in South Africa who can add value and we can talk about them for the whole day.”
It will be a significant loss to Golden Arrows if Komphela departs for Bafana Bafana, but for now, they have the esteemed mentor’s wisdom at their disposal. Abafana Bes’thende need to hit the ground running as they look to break back into the top eight.
Golden Arrows FC nicknames
Golden Arrows FC history
Lamontville Golden Arrows FC was founded in 1943 and the club played in the now defunct National Professional Soccer League in the 1970s. Following their relegation in 1976, they spent four years in the second division before ceasing to exist.
Golden Arrows was re-formed in 1996 after the Madlala family purchased and rebranded Second Division side Ntokozo FC. Four years later, they were back in the top flight after winning promotion via the National First Division Coastal Stream.
Mato Madlala remains the Golden Arrows chairwoman to this day along with being the current acting CEO of the Premier Soccer League. She can be delighted with the progress they have made over the years. Abafana Bes’thende won their first major piece of silverware in 2009, hammering Ajax Cape Town 6-0 in the MTN8 final.
Madlala made some interesting claims about the running of Golden Arrows in addressing claims of conflict of interest regarding her position as acting PSL CEO.
“I’m not running Arrows‚” Madlala was quoted as saying by TimesLIVE.
“At Arrows we have got accountants‚ we have got administrators‚ we have got lawyers who are contracted on retainer‚ we have got doctors on retainer‚ coaches who are running the club.
“They have got their own budget to run the club.”
All we know for sure is that life has been reasonably stable for Golden Arrows on the field of play in recent years. They have been in the top flight since 2015 and have finished between 8th and 10th in each of the last four campaigns.
Abafana Bes’thende have yet to really kick on, though, and establish themselves as one of the big guns of the top flight. If pre-season form is anything to go by, now could be a great time. The only question is: do they have players who can guide them through a full season at or near the top?
Golden Arrows FC: Latest news and live scores
Golden Arrows FC: Live scores
Golden Arrows FC 2019-20 squad
Forwards: João Moreira, Andile Fikizolo, Lerato Lamola, Sibusiso Sibeko, Siboniso Conco, Siphamandla Sabelo
Midfilders: Danny Phiri, Danny Venter, Richard Matloga, Gladwin Shitolo, Sandile Zuke, Nkanyiso Cele, Thabo Molefe, Nduduzo Sibiya, Siphelele Magubane, Kaleb Parusnath, Seth Parusnath, Lungelo Dube, Velemseni Ndwandwe, Sanele Mathentwa
Defenders: Musa Bilankulu, Nkanyiso Mngwengwe, Trevor Mathiane, Siyabonga Dube, Mzwandile Buthelezi, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Divine Lunga, Frank Motebejane
Goalkeepers: Nkosingiphile Gumede, Maximilian Mbaeva, Sherwyn Naicker
Golden Arrows FC: PSL season 2019-20 fixtures and results