There is absolutely nothing wrong with defeat. Every coach, every player, every fan, knows that, sometime or other, the team will lose - it’s just the nature of sport. Defeat is, therefore, often not a failure, but an opportunity to learn and improve. However, what does irk a coach is when the team loses because of a substandard performance, and especially because the team disregarded the game plan.
This is the situation facing Cape Town City as they prepare for the opening round of the Telkom Knockout when they host Bloemfontein Celtic at the Cape Town Stadium Wednesday night (kick-off 7.30pm).
After a mediocre, insipid performance that resulted in a 2-1 loss against newly-promoted Baroka FC in Green Point last Saturday, City are fully aware that they have placed in jeopardy all the recent gains made by the new Cape PSL club.
After its establishment as a club, City quickly set about capturing the hearts of local football followers. The idea has always been to keep doing well at the Cape Town Stadium and, in doing so, continue to get more people into the ground as they build their brand. But, after such a hapless display against Baroka, it’s a case of one step forward, two steps back.
Because of this, City are highly motivated and determined to regain what they’ve lost when they take on Celtic tomorrow.
“What can I say, except that it was a very disappointing performance (against Baroka),” said City’s assistant-coach Ian Taylor.
“But, more than just the loss, what was unfortunate was the fact that we lost at home - We had built up a reputation of winning at home, and that bad game against Baroka goes against all the good we had achieved so far.
“Even in terms of the tactical aspects, there is a particular way we want to do things at City. Up to that last game, we had done so quite well. But against Baroka, the way we played, was the exact opposite of everything we want. So, it was certainly is a wake-up call.”
The challenge now for City is to use the defeat as motivation, to spur the squad to improve and to get back on track with regard to the philosophy of Taylor and his head coach, Eric Tinkler. The players had strayed quite far from what the duo have been trying to inculcate in the squad. But the great thing about football is that there’s always another game.
“The game against Celtic is a chance to redeem ourselves,” said Taylor. “It offers an occasion for the players to get back to doing things the way we are used to, and improving on the tactics that made us successful before the Baroka game. We just have to put the disappointing performance behind us, get over it, and get back on track.”
Tinkler and Taylor tinkered with a few things at training yesterday. The mood is such that a few players could pay the price for the below-par performance at the weekend, and a few personnel changes are expected when the starting team to play Celtic is named.
Two players who are likely to come into contention are striker Judas Moseamedi and former Maritzburg United defender, Thamsanqa Mkhize.
Moseamedi, a powerful, hard-running forward, has been impressive in his appearances for City this season. He has been nursing an injury of late, but the word from Taylor is that, if Moseamedi is fit, he will play.
City limped along in frustration in attack against Baroka. There wasn’t much happening with regard to creativity or scoring opportunities - and the Capetonians will definitely be keen to improve their offensive play against Celtic tomorrow. And, with Lehlohlonolo Majoro still struggling to find his feet in the Mother City, Moseamedi is the perfect man to galvanise things for them in the opposition’s penalty area.