Cape Argus

Secret of Arrows’ success

- MIHLALI BALEKA @Mihlalibal­eka

GOLDEN Arrows reserve team coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi is adamant that the secret weapon for their success was knowing that the club mostly depended on producing its own players for the first team.

On Sunday in uMlazi, KwaZuluNat­al, Arrows were crowned the MultiChoic­e Diski Shield winners

– in the second season of the reserve league’s knockout competitio­n. They did so in style, defeating 2016/2017 Diski Challenge champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the final 2-1 – thanks to a brace by Siboniso Conco, while the latter got the consolatio­n goal from Khomotjo Rachoene.

In the bigger scheme of things, Abafana Bes’thende claimed their third title in the PSL’s feeder league in four seasons – making them the most successful team since the MultiChoic­e Diski initiative was launched five seasons ago.

“If you correctly apply football principles, then you’ll find yourself campaignin­g for the championsh­ip,” Vilakazi said in a post-match interview at King Zwelithini Stadium. “Our primary responsibl­e is to prepare these boys for the first team. We are a small team and we don’t rely on buying players – we have to produce them. I think that pressure automatica­lly sees us producing players season in and out.”

Ever since taking over the team’s hot seat after Arrows were promoted back to the PSL during the 2014/2015 season, Vilakazi has produced a number of players for the senior team. During last season’s PSL awards, Abafana Bes’thende had three players who earned seasonal recognitio­n – Siphelele Magubane (developmen­t graduate) scooped the Absa-lutely Awesome Goal of the Month, while Siboniso Conco was voted as the Diski Challenge Precious Find of the Season, and his eight strikes in the league were enough to get him the Golden Boot award.

Conco went on to play 19 matches for the first team, under then coach Clinton Larsen, and Steve Komphela this season. Moreover, he inspired Abafana Bes’thende’s impressive run in the Diski Shield, scoring nine goals in five matches.

“He’s been doing well,” Vilakazi said. “It’s unfortunat­e that the season has come to an end because he was getting to his best.

“We hope for the best next season, and he’ll quickly adapt and be a regular in the team.”

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