Strikers, playmakers and goalkeepers usually get all the attention… but why not a skinny midfielder like Angelo Arendse?
It’s the eve of the opening round of Varsity Football 2019 and I have taken the time to watch on as UFS complete final preparations for their first match back since 2014. Between drills and debriefings, I notice a focused and eager Arendse.
At 22, the Bloemfontein born and bred midfielder is taking part in his maiden Varsity Football campaign, owing largely to the UFS’s long-term absence from the competition.
“I am enjoying playing at the highest level against all the best players in the country,” Arendse tells varsitysportssa.com, hinting at his economic use of words – similar to his playing style.
The central midfielder who would, in some quarters, be considered a deep-lying playmaker notes his ability to anticipate play as one of his best qualities.
“I’m set apart because I anticipate situations in the game,” Arendse adds, while singling out Manchester City’s Fernandinho and Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets as prime influences on his game.
“They keep their game simple and implement what their team needs at an extremely high level. Reading the game is important so you can make good decisions,” the BCom Honours in Marketing student adds.
Consistency and hard work, Arendse emphasises, are vital: “You have to do more than just training; you have to train after hours.”
An attentive ear at any of the home games would have picked up shouts of ‘Agrizzi’ at odd moments when the ball falls to Arendse’s feet, but he himself hasn’t warmed to name that has been hogging the limelight for non-football reasons.
“I wasn’t aware that it’s going to trend, but I hope it doesn’t stick … I prefer Anji B,” Arendse clarifies.
The central midfielder has impressed fans with his passing and positioning. He can be seen dictating play from the heart of midfield and spraying a number of cross-field passes to the wingers. When asked what his aspirations where, the soft-spoken Arendse simply declared a desire to play professionally.
You can catch Arendse and his UFS teammates this Thursday when they travel across town to CUT Stadium for the first ever Bloemfontein Derby in Varsity Football.
The match will be broadcast live on SuperSport 4, with the kick off at 16:00, while tickets are available for just R10 via the Varsity Sports App.
By Sam Styrax