Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition)

High-flying Arrows look to keep Stellies in check

- HERMAN GIBBS herman.gibbs@gmail.com

RYAN Moon (Golden Arrows) and Iqraam Rayners (Stellenbos­ch FC) will be the central figures in today’s DStv Premiershi­p clash at the Mpumalanga Stadium, Hammarsdal­e (3pm).

The lanky forward Moon has been a star turn for Arrows in recent games and his name was on the scoresheet in Arrows’ recent 3-0 win over the highly fancied SuperSport United. He has played a leading role in Arrows’ rise to second place on the standings after back-to-back wins. Moon has been a constant threat in the final third after his darting runs into the striking zone, while he also provides an aerial threat at set-piece situations.

Rayners, with seven goals in 10 matches to his name in all competitio­ns, has been a revelation for Stellies yet again this season. Arrows will no doubt pay keen attention to Rayners given his ability to find favourable attacking positions in the final third. He is a goalmouth predator of note, and given half a chance, Arrows will pay the price. Of late though, Rayners has not been able to find his match-winning touch and Stellenbos­ch recently went down 2-1 to Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 semi-finals. After that Steve Barker’s charges suffered back-to-back losses against Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport in the Premiershi­p.

Sitting in 11th spot on the log, Stellies recorded three defeats and two wins in their last five league matches. However, the Winelands outfit have a slight upper hand in the head-to-head count.

In the last handful of matches between the two sides, Stellies picked up two wins, with three draws shared during this period.

With the tie in mind, Barker spoke of his delight at being a double centurion for Stellenbos­ch and reiterated that the club is in a good space.

“It’s been a roller-coaster ride but I’m very proud to have been the head coach of this special club for 200 matches,” Barker said.

“We are in a good space, but we must ensure that we do everything we can to get to that next level.”

Arrows’ form sheet makes for good reading so far this season, picking up three victories, one draw and one defeat in the five league games played.

In news that made headlines recently, Arrows fans were left stunned when coach Vusumuzi Vilakazi left the club to join Chippa United as their new technical director during the internatio­nal break.

Speaking on the move, defender Thabani Zuke said the players did not expect Vilakazi to leave the club so suddenly.

“I can say that it affected us a bit because to work with someone for a long time and when he leaves like that, where we didn’t expect it, had an impact,” said Zuke.

“But that he left during the Fifa break, we had time to go all through that and recover. I can say we were not okay as a team because we didn’t know as players. We were a bit worried because we didn’t expect him to leave.

“He has been with the club for many years, so it was a surprise to all of us. Maybe he had his reasons why he left.”

 ?? IQRAAM Rayners. | BackpagePi­x ??
IQRAAM Rayners. | BackpagePi­x

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa