by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – NKOSINATHI Sibisi is not letting repeated speculation about the so-called big sides chasing his signature go to his head.
Instead, the Lamontville Golden Arrows captain is focused on helping Abafana Bes’ thende finish in a respectable position on the DStv Premiership log standing, preferably the top eight.
The defender is having a breakout season that has culminated in call ups to Bafana Bafana squad and was part of the national team’s recent tour of Europe.
Sibisi coyly concedes he is aware of the reports linking him with a lucrative move to Gauteng, with defending league champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, and Orlando Pirates mentioned among teams interested in his services.
It has even been reported Pirates are the likeliest to land the star, given the long-running cordial relations with Arrows.
“I have read about that (clubs speculating to be after his signature) in the papers,” the 26-year-old centreback exclusively told CAJ News Africa about the links to the so-called Big Three.
“I don’t know how far true that is because there is nothing concrete I have heard from the chairlady (Mato Madlala) or my management,” Sibisi said.
“We will see. We don’t know what tomorrow holds. We will see what happens at the end of the season,” the Durban-born player said in an interview.,” he said.
Sibisi nonetheless insisted he is not letting such rumours distract him.
“It’s not affecting me at all as it’s not for the first time that there has been such speculation,” he noted.
“There were similar rumours last season, but still I remained focused. My focus now is on Arrows and helping the team finish in the top eight,” Sibisi added.
Arrows enhanced their chances towards that mission after defeating crisis-laden Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 at home at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Wednesday.
Sibisi, who has featured in 24 matches this campaign, has scored three times and provided two assists this season.
“My season has been good. The progress from last season has been evident. Playing so many games is not easy, especially at the highest level,” the player said.
Now with over 100 appearances for Arrows, he featured in 28 matches last season.
The four-time capped Sibisi made his Bafana debut in 3-2 win against Uganda in an international friendly in June 2021.
He also featured in the last Bafana match, a forgettable 5-0 loss to France in another friendly at the end of March this year.
“It was a huge honour to get a call-up and represent the national team, particularly the tour to Europe. Not to take anything away from Africa, but it was a different experience,” Sibisi said.
He says of the individual accolades at Arrows, “The Man of the Match awards are a bonus. The team comes first.”
Arrows are having a blunt campaign compared to last season when they finished fourth.
The 2009 MTN winners currently occupy ninth, with 35 points, the same tally as eighth-placed Supersport United.
“We haven’t been consistent. We haven’t found top gear, compared to last season, we were getting the results,” Sibisi said.
He attributed this to some factors including the departure of head coach, Mandla Ncikazi, and the loss of some key players.
Several players including key ones such as Divine Lunga, Seth Parusnath and Danny Phiri, also exited the KwaZulu Natal premiership side.
This rendered the current season one to rebuild.
“Not that it’s an excuse but it takes time for new players and those already here to gel,” Sibisi explained.
“Plus the new coach (Lehlohonolo Seema) was introducing his own style. I hope we can improve in the remaining games and finish in the top eight,” Sibisi said.
Arrows and Seema parted ways after the 6-0 drubbing by Mamelodi Sundowns earlier in April.
It was their heaviest loss in the Premiership era.
Mabhuti Khenyeza and Vusumuzi Vilakazi have been appointed caretaker coaches.
“The coaches were working closely with coach Seema and Ncikazi last season. So I doubt there will be problems in terms of adaptation,” Sibisi said.
Arrows’ remaining matches are against Baroka (away), Marumo Gallants (away), Royal AM (home) and away to AmaZulu.
“We approach each game with the mentality to win, regardless whether its Chiefs or Gallants, as long as we get the points. Who we play won’t be a factor,” he said.
“I appeal to fans to vaccinate so they can come to the stadia and provide support,” Sibisi added.
“Hopefully they (supporters) are safe from the recent floods. We promise them we will finish in the top eight and a respectable position on the log,” Sibisi concluded.
– CAJ News