Break could just be the tonic for Arrows, Maritzburg


Both sides have players returning from international victories during the Fifa week. Arrows midfielders Danny Phiri and Kudakwashe Mahachi helped Zimbabwe outclass Tanzania 3-0 in a friendly as the Warriors prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament in Gabon in January.

Arrows winger Clifton Miheso and Maritzburg defender Brian Mandela represented Kenya in their 1-0 friendly triumph over Mozambique. If all goes well, Maritzburg winger Deolin Mekoa could turn out for Bafana Bafana in tonight’s friendly outing in Mozambique. He didn’t feature in the World Cup qualifying win over Senegal, but is likely to enjoy some game time under caretaker coach Owen da Gama, who used him at the Rio Olympics.

Maritzburg, in particular, will hope that the good run of their international players rubs off on the team as they attempt to register a second win of the season when they face Ajax Cape Town in the Mother City on Saturday.

The Team of Choice will also pray that a change of scenery and the fortnight’s break helps them in their turn-around bid. They haven’t won since they beat Bloemfontein Celtic on the league’s opening day, but are unbeaten in their last three league outings.

The time off would have allowed Zimbabwean pair, midfielder Blessing Moyo and striker Evans Rusike, to recover from minor knocks also.

Setting up base in Cape Town since Friday could also work in their favour. After the Ajax clash, Maritzburg face Cape Town City three days later at the same venue. At least they won’t have acclimatisation issues to deal with. In fact, playing in the Cape will be welcomed by a fair contingent of their playing and technical squad, who hail from the city. They include captain Kurt Lentjies, defender Bevan Fransman, midfielder Devon Saal, and assistant coaches, Fadlu and Maahier Davids. Onyango and ex-Bafana defender Bryce Moon will also fit in comfortably, having played in the Cape for Santos and Ajax, respectively.

However, Fransman will miss both games through suspension and Onyango will sit out the first game to complete a two-match ban.

Arrows, who visit Highlands Park on Sunday, expect to have striker Lerato Lamola and defender Lehlohonolo Nonyane back from injury. After a bright start Abafana Bes’thende have slipped to fourth following a draw and a loss.

The Star

Original source: Break could just be the tonic for Arrows, Maritzburg