Mandla Ncikazi’s attention to detail is not surprising given the fact he spent close to two decades as an assistant to as many coaches in the Premier Soccer League.
Now that’ Ncikazi is head coach of Lamontville Golden Arrows you hear it in his answers before and post matches that he pays as much attention to his opponents as in preparing his own team.
That Arrows are among five teams – others are Mamelodi Sundowns, Orlando Pirates, Swallows FC and TS Galaxy – yet to suffer defeats after four rounds of the DStv Premiership, must surely come down in large part to how he has meticulously planned for his rivals.
After a come-from-behind 2-2 draw at home against Kaizer Chiefs last week, Ncikazi takes his troops to Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga on Saturday where he concedes that nothing separates his side from Dan Malesela’s Galaxy.
“Tight match, the log says it all,” the 51-year-old Arrows coach says of Galaxy.
“We’re just one goal ahead of them, the points are equal, the number of wins and draws [are equal].
“For me that says it all that – it’s going to be a very close match. We’re a playing team that plays from the back and they’re playing at home.
“But we want to win because we haven’t won for quite some time.
“It will be nice to get points away from home against such a team and I’m confident based on what I’ve seen in our training.
“We’re not taking anything for granted. They’re a good team, quality side with quality coaches – but Arrows will get the points, I’m hopeful.”
As much as all looks the same between Arrows and Galaxy, Ncikazi will take comfort from that fact that they’ve outscored their opponents, netting five goals versus Galaxy’s two.
“Good question, wrong person,” was how Ncikazi responded on how he’s started as Arrows head coach after the departure of Steve Komphela to join Mamelodi Sundowns before the start of the current campaign.
“I’m just happy that the players are united, they’re working very hard and the commitment is above everything.
“For me I think the form is coming from that, even if they’re mistakes but it’s not deliberate errors.
“It’s just errors and players are willing to work for the club and the badge. They’re putting the badge first before themselves.”
If Arrows’ form is maintained in Mpumalanga, Ncikazi’s team should at the very least come back with an away draw. But a second win in five matches, as the coach suggests, seems very much in the offing too.