The first round of the DSTV Premiership for the ongoing 2020/21 season has delivered in all fronts for spectators and football lovers alike.
Bar the factory faults of club change of ownership, the football product on our fields and on screen has lived up to expectations.
That hype and expectation has been magnified by the excellent work of one, Coach Mandla Ncikazi. Today, FARPost Technical Study Group (TSG) take a decisive look at Coach Ncikazi and his work with Lamontville Golden Arrows.
1. Early years
Mandla Ncikazi was born on the 16th February 1969, in KwaZulu Natal. Upon completion of his secondary schooling, football remained a major attraction for the quiet coach.
He played for African Wanderers during a generation of Natal total football technical excellence and sheer artistry.
2. Coaching initiation
Perhaps his most illustrious coaching career came when he partnered the current Mamelodi Sundowns FC Co-Coach, Manqoba Mgqithi to a famous 6-0 victory against the now defunct, Ajax Cape Town, in the 2009 MTN8 Final.
The pair masterminded not only a resounding slaughtering of Ajax, but the development of many emerging players, the likes of the late Henyekane brothers (May their souls Rest In Peace), Siyabonga Sangweni, Papi Zothwane, Mabhudi Khenyeza and many more.
3. Coaching hiccups
With various coaching stints including working for Free State Stars under the leadership of Steve Komphela, Coach Ncikazi had a chance to go solo when he was appointed Maritzburg United coach on 2nd July 2015.
After 5 matches in the hot seat, Coach Mandla was relieved of his duties on 15th September 2015. That period at United as both (Assitant & Head Coach) has helped shape the mindset, approach, technical outlook and understanding of the game.
4. Coaching qualifications
Coach Ncikazi joins a list of illustrious coaches within the PSL corridor who have a Professional Coaching Diploma, the likes of Mngqithi, Komphela, Thomas Nare, Brendon Truter and Wendell Robinson.
At continental level, he has the CAF A License and will surely be invited to complete the CAF Professional Certificate in the near future.
5. Ncikazi & Arrows
Since his appointment as the Arrows Head Coach on 15th October 2020, Coach Mandla has crafted an interesting Arrows football project.
This Arrows team play with structure, discipline and within a solid technical-tactical framework. Ncikazi has instilled a flexibility tactical approach that has been varied between 1-4-3-3 and 1-4-5-1 attacking styles.
The team can easily adapt to a conservative tactical approach in defense, fluid counterattack and possession based initiative depending on the occasion, moments in the game and the score line. Frontal pressure and group tactical pressing has seen many teams succumb to the 51-year old Ncikazi and his charges.
Arrows tactical approach and immaculate football is down to the humble tactical maestro in Coach Ncikazi, and maybe, just maybe a CAF Champions League spot is within the grasp of this coach and his bunch of hardworking troops.
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By FARPost Technical Study Group