Golden Arrows aim to benefit in long term from youth strategy
For the last two seasons Lamontville Golden Arrows have burst out of the starting blocks and been among the frontrunners in the Absa Premiership only to implode before Christmas and finish up in mid-table.
They are threatening again to make a promising start after a 2-0 away win over Maritzburg United in their opening game of the season at Harry Gwala Stadium at the weekend and will be looking to make it two wins out of two when they host Bloemfontein Celtic at Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu on Wednesday night.
“We started particularly well last season but we didn’t talk about it because the moment you talk about it‚ talk about these things‚ it sounds like the coach is seeking to make an excuse‚" Arrows coach Clinton Larsen said.
“It’s last season so I can now talk about it. We did well in the first 10 games of the season but then we lost three key players – Danny Phiri out for eight months‚ [Kudakwashe] Mahachi out for four-and-a-half months‚ [Lehlohonolo] Nonyane out for six months.
“Those were three of my starters and we had a very young‚ small squad. And to lose those three key players in the middle of the season hurt us.
“We didn’t talk about it last season because it would have sounded like an excuse but now I can say we really felt it when they were missing.
“We didn’t have the depth that a lot of other teams had‚ hence we are always giving our youngsters an opportunity.”
Zimbabwe international Phiri is now fit while the other two have left the club and Arrows remain as threadbare as ever in terms of the size of their squad.
“It’s the way we want to evolve the club. We are going to continue to give young players an opportunity‚” Larsen said.
“Sometimes it will come at the expense of losing games but I think in the long term‚ the club is going to benefit quite substantially.”