Golden Arrows coach Mandla Ncikazi: 'I fear Kaizer Chiefs and fear their good players'

Sazi Hadebe Sports reporter
Lamontville Golden Arrows head coach Mandla Ncikazi has said his team can still finish as the Premiership runners-up.
Lamontville Golden Arrows head coach Mandla Ncikazi has said his team can still finish as the Premiership runners-up.
Image: Gerhard Duraan/BackPagePix/Gallo Images

Lamontville Golden Arrows coach Mandla Ncikazi has warned his charges to tread very carefully against struggling Kaizer Chiefs when the two sides meet in a DStv Premiership on Wednesday afternoon.

Chiefs' horror season led to the sacking of coach Gavin Hunt on Friday and the ailing Naturena side will host third-placed Arrows in their penultimate league match of the campaign with assistant coaches Arthur Zwane and Dillon Sheppard on the bench at the FNB Stadium.

So poor was their form under Hunt that the 11th-placed Chiefs still need three points from their two remaining matches to completely avoid being sucked into the uncertainty of the relegation/promotion play-offs.

A cautious Ncikazi told TimesLIVE they cannot allow themselves to be deceived by Chiefs' disastrous form in the league as Amakhosi still have a good team that can trouble any side in the Premiership.

“I would love to win every match‚ but I’m this person who is always afraid of situations like Kaizer Chiefs‚” said Ncikazi. “They have top players and you can count them. I think they’ve got the best attack in the league‚ whether you talk about Lebohang Manyama‚ Khama Billiat‚ Samir Nurković or Leonardo Castro. That’s a top team.

“Maybe if I were to say and point out their problems‚ maybe the adjustment of a new leadership‚ good coach (the fired Gavin Hunt) and players that have worked with the other leadership.

“But once they find their footing‚ a lot of us will have regrets.

“Still they’re very tough. I watched their game against Simba (in the quarterfinals of the Caf Champions League)... three headed goals. They’re very strong on set plays.”

Chiefs  recently suffered defeats to troubled Maritzburg United‚ Chippa United‚ Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila and Black Leopards‚ and this has made Ncikazi cautious.

Arrows can still finish as runners-up if results elsewhere in matches involving rivals second-spot rivals AmaZulu and Orlando Pirates in their last two matches favour them.

But Ncikazi knows that they have to win their games against Chiefs on Wednesday and Stellenbosch on Saturday to have a chance of making it happen.

“I’m expecting the toughest match and you must remember that we’re playing shorter players if you look at the height of the players we have in our team. So anything played high will be a struggle.

“But we have to go compete like we’ve done throughout the season and hope that we impose our game on them‚ and get the result. But I must tell you I fear Kaizer Chiefs and fear their good players. Once that synergy between the leadership (on the bench) and players happens‚ I think they could do very well.”

Ncikazi desperately hoped for a draw between Pirates and AmaZulu last Wednesday and was disappointed when the Bucs emerged victories.

“I would have loved a draw but when it’s not in your control and you’re relying on others‚ it can go either way‚” said Ncikazi. “It would have been nice if they played a draw because that would give us a chance.

“We’re not out of it [finishing second on the standings] though‚ there’s still some football to be played.

“If we control our own destiny‚ win our two games‚ I don’t see Pirates cleanly winning their last [two] matches. I’m hoping‚ but it’s just hoping ... let’s just run our own race.”