Phakathi upbeat about Arrows Absa Premiership survival

Bheka Phakathi, one of the two stand-in Lamontville Golden Arrows coaches, believes the ailing Absa Premiership club have every chance of survival, vowing they will give everything to beat the dreaded relegation axe.

The Umlazi-based club, bottom of the league table, have won just four times all season and time is now fast running out for the team that narrowly avoided the chop for the last two years running.

Arrows have been woeful in 2013/14 with statistics showing they have the worst defence (35 conceded) and second worst attack (16 scored), while they have not kept a single clean sheet all term. In fact, their first of the season came in the Nedbank Cup two weekends back when they beat Polokwane City 1-0.

Two coaches have come and gone, Manqoba Mngqithi and Mark Harrison, leaving assistants Phakathi and Shaun Bartlett to try and salvage their season.

"If you look at the story of the season it is a rough one," Phakathi admitted to PSL.co.za. "We've struggled in attack, in defence and all over the place.

"But the fact of the matter is we're still very much alive and right in the mix. At the moment the spirit is okay and I have no doubt we can and will turn the corner."

Time, though, is running out for Abafan Bes'thende

They have 11 games to try and stay up, including a block of three home fixtures in their next five games.

Those are likely to be crucial to their destiny, although they did mess up by losing 4-2 to relegation rivals University of Pretoria over the weekend.

"Personally I disagree that time's running out," Phakathi said. "We have a target of 37 points and that's another 24 points from 12 games.

"Losing against Free State Stars was a setback, because that game was part of the 37 target. But it just means we need to try and win one of our remaining games on the road.

"We feel that home form is key in the next few months. But we'll be going one game at a time and we're determined to fight until the end. We know that anything is possible."

The coach believes that clubs from 10th position downwards are catchable -- Tuks, Mpumalanga Black Aces, Ajax Cape Town, Polokwane, Maritzburg United and Stars.

"It's going to be a scrap, not easy in any sense, but it's possible," he says.

In the last three seasons, the club beating the drop or the Relegation/Promotion Play-off by finishing 14th has collected a minimum of 29 points and Phakathi feels 34 should do the trick this time.

The former Arrows player also acknowledged that it was a different scenario for him - he never fought relegation with the club in his playing says - but he was confident of getting them through.

"We never had this then," he added. "The club was always doing far better, so this is a new experience for me, especially now as a coach.

"But pressure comes in any job and we're embracing the situation. We'll strive to keep this club in the PSL."