CAPE TOWN – Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler has no doubt about what his top priority is as the PSL log-leading side focuses on its next challenge.
After defeating Kaizer Chiefs 3-2 at the Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday, next up is a trip to Maritzburg United on Monday afternoon (kick-off 3pm) – and the message from Tinkler is clear and unequivocal.
“The league is very tight this season,” he said. “So what needs to happen now, when we prepare for the Maritzburg game is that they players have to be brought back down to earth. All the good work against Chiefs will mean nothing if we don’t get a result against Maritzburg.
“The players have to be psychologically ready for another challenge. They shouldn’t think that because they beat Chiefs that Maritzburg will be easy If they do have this attitude, then we will come unstuck.”
City and Chiefs produced an enthralling PSL encounter at the former World Cup venue in Green Point on Tuesday. It resulted in City maintaining their position at the top of the standings with 49 points, followed by Mamelodi Sundowns on 47 points, Wits 45, Chiefs 45 and SuperSport United 40 points.
And what an occasion it proved to be it was a tense, hugely exciting match that could have gone either way, until a goal from City striker Judas Moseamedi snatched all three points it at the death.
“It wasn’t good for my health, that’s for sure,” said Tinkler of the stress during the roller-coaster clash. “But I thought that, defensively, we weren’t very good, in both halves. The plan was to ensure that Shaba and George (Siphiwe Tshabalala and George Maluleka) didn’t play, that we never gave them space. Instead we gave them time and freedom on the ball. But the good thing was that going forward we were good. We always looked like we could score on the transition.
“Chiefs came out very strong in the second half and they probably deserved to go ahead. We soaked up a lot of pressure. But we were resilient, we showed character and we finished stronger. I always thought Chiefs would tire late (Amakhosi had come off a cup game which went to extra-time and penalties). I guess any team could have won it, but in the end our character and the players’ never-say-die approach proved to be the difference. And it’s that attitude that wins a team the title”
But, as Tinkler has been at pains to bring across to his squad, the Chiefs result is a thing of the past. If City are to maintain their challenge, if they are to go all the way, they cannot look back – the only things that matters is the next game. And that is Maritzburg on Monday, when they will need all of their focus, unity, desire and indomitable spirit once again.