For FN Rangers coach Arreshaat Daniels, it’s a blessing that the team finished above Glendene United in Stream B, and qualified for the ABC Motsepe League Western Cape play-offs. But they’re going to do their homework before they face the Stream A champs.

When FN Rangers finished above Glendene United in Stream B and qualified  for the ABC Motsepe League Western Cape play-offs, Arreshaat Daniels’ emotions were running wild. 

For the Rangers coach, it was an almost unbelievable achievement – though a well-deserved one, with all the accolades going towards the greater team and squad. It was exhilarating and exciting and incredible.

In short: “it was a blessing.”

But the fun is only starting.

(Photo: Conray Swail)

“Phase one of our objective is complete, so now we have to focus on Zizwe United or Grassy Park,” he says. “We will definitely have a look at what they are all about, in the next week or so. We will speak to some coaches that have faced them during the season just to hear what they have to say. That has been vital for us just to know what the opposition is about, knowing their strengths and weaknesses and playing accordingly.”

That’s all well and good…but what about Rangers’ own strengths? What has carried them so far?

Wll, for one thing, the team has fully embraced the under 23 rule that says that teams have to field five players under the age of 23 for each match day. 

“There is no special formula; we all play with the same rules. But our imbalance in terms of the average age is something that works in our favour. We don’t have problems where players feel they are too big and don’t pitch up for games. We may not necessarily have the best under 23s, but we prepare them well.”

Since the restart, the key was not making a lot of changes and also making use of the talented younger players at his disposal. 

“The composition of our players are boys that have been released by Cape Town Spurs and Cape Town City etc. We’ve backed them all the way, making use of the LFA league to push our youngsters, because there is basically nothing to win in our District.”

(Photo: Conray Swail)

As a club they have no special formula for success, but they are willing to give young players an opportunity and make use of Local Football Association football to breed and test young players. 

“If there is a position in the club that is needed, then we’ll look at the development first. This is what we tell our parents and players. Only after that we will look outside, and that has been our greatest asset,” he says.

“If we as a club don’t give young players an opportunity, then who will?”  

Possible Permutations: The Road To The Playoffs

So before the first leg of the play-offs, in Stream A there is a fight between Zizwe United who are sitting on 42 points and their only rival for the Stream A title Grassy Park United on 38 points with two games left. 

If Zizwe beat Santos at Nyanga Stadium on Freedom Day then they will be crowned ABC Motsepe League Western Cape Stream A Champions – setting the stage for a play-off between Zizwe United and FN Rangers, starting on 7 May 2022. . 

“We definitely are not underestimating Zizwe,”Daniels notes. “We’re going to need to put in a shift, press them in certain areas; tactically we have to get it right. I don’t want to divulge too much because I have played them before and they are comfortable on the ball. So we are keeping a close eye on them – and we will do our research before the first leg.” 

(Photo: Conray Swail)

However, if Zizwe United lose both their last two encounters and Grassy Park subsequently manages to win the last two matches then the boys from Grassy Park will be in the ABC Motsepe League Play-offs. 

Either way, Rangers will enter the play-offs determined to do some damage. A win will give the team from Royal Road a chance of playing in the GladAfrica Championship – and make the long way they had to walk to get to this great occasion worth every step. 

Edited by Nicklaus Kruger