Injuries had impacted right-winger's career

Ndwandwe enjoys best run in five seasons

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Velemseni Ndwandwe of Lamontville Golden Arrows and Vuyo Mere of Moroka Swallows during the DStv Premiership match between Golden Arrows and Swallows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on December 05, 2020 in Durban.
Velemseni Ndwandwe of Lamontville Golden Arrows and Vuyo Mere of Moroka Swallows during the DStv Premiership match between Golden Arrows and Swallows at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on December 05, 2020 in Durban.
Image: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

The 2020/21 DStv Premiership term may just be at its midpoint, but for Golden Arrows right-winger Velemseni Ndwandwe it’s already his best season ever.

Thus far, Ndwandwe has scored an impressive five league goals, his highest tally in a single campaign, since making his Arrows debut in the 2016/17.

The 25-year-old  Arrows star has attributed his magnificent form to being injury-free, reflecting how injuries derailed his progress in the past four campaigns.

“This season I am yet to sustain any bad injury and that has kept me going. I arrived at Arrows when I was just 20 years old and I played for the reserves until I was promoted by coach Clinton Larsen the following season. In my first season with the first team I played a few games then I was out for the rest of the season,’’ Ndwandwe told Sowetan.

“In my second season I was sidelined for nine months after picking-up the same injury [a tibial stress fracture] that troubled me in my first season. Last season I couldn’t go to the bio-bubble because of the same injury, it’s been niggling a bit.’’

From the word go, the lad from Esikhawini in Richard's Bay, northern KZN, saw the current season as the season for redemption. At the start of the term, Ndwandwe's wish was to manage six goals, nine assists and 25 appearances.

“I prayed I stay healthy the entire season. My aim this season was to score six goals and have nine assists, hoping I can play at least 25 games. I am already one goal away from reaching my target of six goals. I don’t have assists yet, so I need to pull up my socks in that department."

Ndwandwe reflected on how he joined Arrows from amateur side Durban FC. “I was playing for Durban FC when my mentor Bonke Mthembu took me to Arrows in 2016. He’s very close to mama Mato Madlala (Arrows’ owner). Coach Larsen is the one who signed me at that time.’’

Ndwandwe’s blistering form ties in with Arrows’ fantastic start to the season. Abafana Bes’thende are fourth on the log with 28 points from 15 games.

Ndwandwe’s seasons at Arrows (league only)

2016/17: 4 games (all off the bench); no goal, no assist

2017/18: 17 games (14 starts); 1 goal, 5 assists

2018/19: 5 games (4 starts); no goal, no assist

19/20: 4 games (1 start); no goal, no assist

20/21: 13 games (9 starts); 5 goals, no assist

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