CAPE TOWN – With victories for Wits and Kaizer Chiefs at the weekend, Cape Town City are under pressure to stay in touch when they host Chippa United in a PSL fixture at the Athlone Stadium on Monday (kick-off 7.30pm).
Wits dispatched Platinum Stars 2-0, while Chiefs edged Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1. Of the title-contenders, the big loser from the weekend’s action was SuperSport United, who came unstuck, at home, 1-0, to bottom-placed Baroka FC.
As the PSL enters the final two months of the season, City coach Eric Tinkler is keenly aware of the fact that there is no room for error.
“The games don’t get any easier,” said Tinkler about the challenge his men faced against a really smart Chippa side. “If anything, it just gets harder
“Chippa are not an easy team to play. They like to keep hold of the ball; their ball retention is really good. It’s going to be important that we don’t frustrate ourselves when they have the ball. And then, when we win possession, what becomes important is what we do with it.
“We had a good result against Chippa in the away fixture in PE (the Cape side won 2-1 in November) and the planning and preparation was spot-on for that match. We have to make sure we have the preparation right again.”
And, with tonight’s fixture at home, Tinkler said it was even more crucial that City take all three points.
“We have to make sure that week in and week out we keep getting better,” said the City coach. “We are in the end-stage of the season and the games are coming thick and fast. Everyone is looking to pick up points – and we need to ensure that, because we are at home, we do just that.”
City will have their two Bafana Bafana men back for the Chippa outing. Attacker and captain Lebogang Manyama and goalkeeper Shu-aib Walters returned from international duty full of confidence.
“Manyama is in a good phase of his career and I’m sure he is ready for the rest of the league matches,” said Tinkler.
Meanwhile, over in the other half of the Mother City, it’s looking rather gloomy for Ajax Cape Town.
After Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Maritzburg United, coupled with wins for lowly Baroka and Free State Stars, the Cape side is starting to look very anxiously over their shoulders.
Currently in 12th position in the PSL standings with 22 points, behind them are Stars, also on 22, Highlands Park 20, Bloemfontein Celtic 19 and Baroka 18.
For Ajax, that translates to a gap of just four points to the basement of the log. It’s troubling times, yet again, for the Capetonians – and, if they wish to stave off an ignominious relegation struggle, then they are going to have to find a way to win – and pretty soon, too.