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Arendse: Our biggest game ever
Friday 29th June 2012
Big hearts and big personalities are what Santos are going to need against Chippa United, and in this respect Wayne Arendse can be relied upon to sweat blood for the club’s cause.

The two sides meet in what promises to be a full-blooded and thrilling Cape derby, with the stakes huge: the winner qualifies to play in the Absa Premiership next season, while the loser will have to battle it out in the unforgiving terrain of the National First Division.

The match takes place at the Philippi Stadium, kicking off at 15H00. The first round play-off game between theses two sides ended in a 0-0 draw at Athlone.

Chippa hold an advantage in that a draw will see them promoted. For Santos the objective is starkly simple one: they must win this game to avoid being relegated from the PSL for the first time in their history.

The Peoples’ Team have a reputation for being a family club and inspiring loyalty amongst the employees.

Of the current squad, Wayne Arendse, namesake Tyren Arendse, Eleazar Rodgers, Erwin Isaacs and Nasief Morris are all players that have risen through the ranks and played important roles in the club’s success, players that have the very fibre of the club engrained in their DNA. No other club in the country comes close in terms of locally-born-and-bred players regularly turning out for the first team.

The quintet are all likely to start the game on Saturday and their commitment to the cause could be a key factor if Santos are to emerge victorious.

The 27-year-old Wayne Arendse has played well in excess of 150 games for the Peoples’ Team since making his debut back in 2006/ 2007.

From Mitchells Plain, he rose up through the club’s junior ranks, playing for their feeder team, Mitchells Plain United, before graduating to the first team, epitomising the club’s philosophies.

Strong. cool, calm and collected at the back, and an excellent reader of the game, Arendse will be required to play one of the games of his life on Saturday as his side battles for their future.

“We saw on Wednesday what Chippa can do when they beat Thanda, so we know we have a tough match ahead,” Arendse told PSL.co.za.

“They’ll be out to give it their all on Saturday, but so will we. For Santos this is do-or-die and for the players it’s our biggest game ever for the club.

“We have to win this game, that’s the bottom line. We know what’s at stake – jobs are on the line.”

Santos won’t have the comfort of their World Cup training venue, the Athlone Stadium, available for this game – instead the players will need to take into their stride the unfamiliar Philippi Stadium, a venue in the heart of the townships where Chippa receive massive support.

“It’s a compact stadium with an intense atmosphere – I have played there once before. Its been raining a lot in Cape Town which could make for difficult playing conditions, but hopefully the weather will be good,” said Arendse, who adds that there are two players in particular which need to be accounted for.

“They have a lot of good players, but their number 10 (Andile Mbenyane) is a dangerous player. He likes to come in from wide positions and drifts around the field a lot. We’ll need to keep an eye on his movements and limit his time on the ball.

“The striker (Petrus Ngebo) didn’t have such a good game against Thanda, but that could make him even more of a threat on Saturday, we know what he is capable of.”

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