The 2011/2012 season saw Engen Santos’ campaign in the Premier League come to a gut-wrenching end. After the long and arduous Play-offs former PSL champions lost the final match to their NFD neighbours and now PSL new comers Chippa United.
Until then Santos was the oldest PSL team in Cape Town. As a professional club, they joined the FPL in 1982 and started dominating, winning the league championship six times and four cup competitions in nine years before joining the unified NSL in 1991.
The club missed out on the opening of the PSL after it’s inauguration in the 1996/1997 season but gained promotion the following season and began to flourish. The Capetonians went on to win the league under the leadership of the current Bafana Bafana coach, Gordon Igesund as well as three cup competitions between 2001 and 2003.
Tyren Arendse was part of the dream team during the glory days before leaving to ply his trade with some of the PSL giants in Gauteng until his return to The People’s Team in 2008.
Almost 15 years later, now as the captain, Arendse finds himself a part of the team that lost its battle in the Premier League.
Tyren opened up to The People’s Team website. “We’ve had some time to think about what happened and how it all went down. If you look at the log it shows we were not good enough last season. Yes we can say we were unlucky in certain games or suffered injuries here and there, but statistics don't lie.
“It’s been difficult, most probably the worst period of my entire football career. If I look at all the people we disappointed, that hurts, but life always gives you an opportunity to live to fight another day. I've had time to evaluate my contribution last season and I know I need to improve and work even harder together with my teammates to get the club back in the PSL.
“Obviously it is a new challenge and there will be some changes in terms of players coming and going, but I believe we still have a good enough team to win promotion. We just need to find the balance between youth and experience, but I'm sure we'll be ready come the first game, because we have a responsibility towards the club to gain promotion”, said a determined Arendse.
He believes what’s important for them right now is to settle in quickly, start winning games and be consistent something he says they lacked last season.
This will be his first time in the NFD since the beginning of his Premier League career with the Cape Town based outfit in 1999.
“I'm looking forward to a new challenge. I've spoken to a few players to get an idea, but I think it’s only when you play in the league that you will really know. So I'm actually excited, because I've made peace with the fact that we'll be competing in the NFD.
“I think each and every game will be tough, as every team would want to beat us because we came from the PSL. I'm sure everyone is ready for the challenge judging by the hard work they are putting in at training. The guys are at least enjoying themselves on the field as well, which is important after the disappointment”, added the captain.
For Tyren it’s not all about the players however as the fans too were left heart broken as they watched their beloved Santos “jou lekker ding” go down.
“We know that we've let our supporters down big time last season. We are going to do whatever it takes to get the team back into the PSL, where it belongs and give them the joy and satisfaction they deserve. We owe so much to them for their support and it’s our responsibility to see them happy again”, pledged Arendse
Engen Santos will start their NFD campaign against fellow Capetonians Vasco Da Gama in August 2012.