GOLDEN ARROWS RELEGATED TO THE NFD
By: Neo Goba
Ayanda Dlamini’s late goal formally relegated Lamontville Golden Arrows to the Nation First Division at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Tuesday night.
AmaZulu snatched the 3 points from the visitors to climb into the top 8.
Arrows were four points behind 15th placed Free State Stars – which meant nothing but a win would keep the already slim hopes high. Poor finishing by Abafana Besthende let them down as they had numerous chances to find a goal.
The Usuthu faithful spent the majority of the first half fighting for a top eight spot, but Arrows spent most of the stanza camping in the AmaZulu’s half of the field. Chris Katongo’s effort forced keeper Aubrey Mabithe within the fist minute of the kick-off as he blasted the ball through the defence.
Arrows continued to knock hard but they just could not get past the resolute Mathibe, who was being let down by his defence. Arrows missed two golden opportunities between the 50th and 61st minute when Katongo shot straight at Mathibe after beating Msekeli Mvalo for pace.
Festus Mbewe wasted Rudolph Besters hard work when he side footed over the bar. Ntuli netted a easy tap in four minutes later but was denied by the off-side trap.
Arrows now find themselves sinking into the NFD with just 21 points out of 29 games. Even if they win their remaining game against an on form Orlando Pirates, that won’t be enough because Stars are five-points ahead of them.
The home side secured a 7th place position with 42 points but have a tough match against Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs who’s hopes of winning the 2013/2014 season title were shattered after Sundowns beat Supersport United by 3-0.
AmaZulu coach Craig Rosslee was not present at the stadium due to the loss of his father. He and his family were grieving and were unable to witness the defeat of rivals ‘Abafana Bes’thende’.
When acting head coach of Amazulu Wilfred Mugeyi was asked what were his thoughts of the crucial goal they got, he said: “I’m dissapointed with our performance. I think Arrows wanted the 3 points more than us and they fought very well, we were very slow and kept putting ourselves under pressure. But end of the day, its the points that matters and not the performance.”
Arrows interim coach Shaun Bartlett was disappointed with his team’s performance.
“The boys played well but I wasn’t entirely happy with the performance. We didn’t deserve to lose but that has been the story of our season. With all the good players we had and possession and dominating games, if you can’t put the ball at the back of the net, you can’t win games,” said Bartlett.
He further said that the team’s downfall was caused of many factors.
“Our downfall is not caused by one thing, its not something that just started this season but its been coming in the past five years. We took over the team at a time where it was really embarrassing so we had to make the best of it,” concluded Bartlett.
When asked if he’ll still remain with the team, he said he can’t answer but it’s up to the owner of the club to decide because relegation was never part of his thinking.