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By Sibongiseni Gumbi

Football Writer

Khenyeza not worried about crowds in KZN derby

"You see, if you come from Johannesburg you are a big deal to them. I'm sorry to say this," says Khenyeza.

Golden Arrows coach, Mabhuti Khenyeza has a bone to chew with KwaZulu-Natal football supporters. 

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He accuses them of seeing Gauteng teams as the best thing since sliced bread, and looking down upon local sides. 

This comes as there’s a concern that if things don’t go Orlando Pirates’ way in the first quarter-final of the Carling Knockout Cup‘s doubleheader at Moses Mabhida Stadium, fans might leave before the second match. 

In that second game, local teams Golden Arrows and AmaZulu battle it out for a place in the semi-finals of this high-stakes tournament.

Interestingly, Arrows’ coach, Mabhuti Khenyeza, has made it clear that it doesn’t bother him whether the fans stay or leave after the Pirates’ game. He’s all about focusing on the task at hand.

“It’s up to the fans whether they stay or go. In the end, it is their decision, we won’t force them,” the young mentor told reporters this week.

“Last week we played against Kaizer Chiefs. We took the game to Mpumalanga Stadium (in Hammarsdale, outside Durban). 

Khenyeza unhappy with KZN supporters

“But the people of KwaZulu-Natal preferred to support the team from Johannesburg… You see, if you come from Johannesburg you are a big deal to them. I’m sorry to say this.”

Khenyeza says his team focuses on their job on the field, and are not bothered by who is watching.

“I don’t want to point this out: we don’t even know who is watching us, at what time. We don’t think about whether we are being watched or not, we focus on playing football. 

“When we play on the road, we are used to playing in front of the crowds of the team we are visiting. 

“We have a way of ignoring the noise, and we continue to play our football,” he added. 

Khenyeza expects difficult game

On the game against Usuthu, Khenyeza admitted that it will be a tactically difficult encounter.

“A lot happens when a derby game is played, it is difficult to control the game. The fight does not end on the field, it also spreads outside. 

“We must be smart and plan well. We must control the game even outside the field,” explained Khenyeza.

On whether he was worried about his players getting carried away after a big win over Kaizer Chiefs last weekend, Khenyeza revealed his secret to handling such situations.

“In our team I made a rule that if we win, we celebrate for only 48 hours. We are past that celebratory period. 

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The players know that they must focus on the next one. We are also helped by the fact that our team is made up of humble players.” 

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