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Plenty at stake in KZN derby as Royal AM aim to shoot down Arrows

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Royal AM captain Kabelo Mahlasela acknowledged the flying start Golden Arrows have made but also revealed his team’s motivation to capture their first win in six games.

Kabelo Mahlasela of Royal AM has made it clear that his team is hungry for a win after a lean spell. Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

A DESPERATE Royal AM outfit will have their sights set on capitalising on the recent misfortunes of KwaZulu-Natal rivals Golden Arrows.

Thwihli Thwahla have not made the best start to their 2023/24 DSTV Premiership campaign with inconsistency and lack of character at the core of their many on and off-field issues. In Abafana Bes’thende they await a side with a shockingly impressive record thus far as they sit second in the DStv Premiership standings.

The two teams collide at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Tuesday, looking to assert themselves as the premier club in the province. Kick-off is at 7.30pm.

Arrows will visit Royal AM on the back of a humbling derby defeat against AmaZulu, who dismantled them within 45 minutes before dumping them out of the Carling Knockout Cup with a 3-0 scoreline.

The home side will hope a sense of vulnerability still lingers in the minds of Arrows and could trigger a turnaround for them.

Royal AM captain Kabelo Mahlasela acknowledged the flying start their next opponents have made but also revealed his team’s motivation to capture their first win in six games.

“It will be a very interesting game and we’re going there to get maximum points and nothing else,” he said.

“It’s a KZN derby and we all know how derbies are, they are special because they attract a lot of people in the area and we’ll see who comes out on top at the end of the day.

“It will definitely be a high-intensity game. Arrows are having a good run at the moment so I’m expecting a tough one. We need to turn the corner because we haven’t been winning for quite some time and people know Royal AM for winning games.”

Royal AM, who occupy 14th spot on the log, are currently on a four-game losing streak, having scored one goal in that period while conceding six.

Arrows head coach Mabhuti Khenyeza will want to inflict more pain on his provincial counterparts as a chance to cement their place in CAF positions also beckons.

The 41-year-old spoke to the media ahead of their trip to Pietermaritzburg and elected to downplay the importance of conquering his provincial rivals but instead emphasising the need to maintain his side’s consistency.

“I’m not here to coach for derbies, I want to coach the team in every game that we play,” he said.

“The derbies just happen to be one of the games that we play during the season but the focus isn’t solely on them. It’s similar to when we play the big teams and beat them but then suddenly we go on to lose the next game, our focus is on every game individually.”

Arrows do not have the best of records against Royal AM, having failed to beat them in the six times they’ve met in the top flight.

Thwihli Thwahla have won three and drawn three of those matches.

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