With just six games to go, City have a glorious opportunity to win the league championship at the first time of asking. And, while City have been rather coy over the last few weeks, preferring to play down their title challenge, coach Eric Tinkler finally shouted from the rooftops that the league is on: They are ready for a charge at winning the Absa Premiership title.
As it stands, City occupy the summit with 46 points, followed by Bidvest Wits 45, Kaizer Chiefs 45 and Mamelodi Sundowns on 44 points.
“It’s a real tough match against Chiefs, but it is also a must-win match,” said Tinkler. “As I’ve told the players, we’ve got nothing to lose, so let’s throw everything into it in our attempt to win the title.
“Of course, there is pressure. Being a professional sportsman, a player’s career is short, probably around eight-10 years, and the opportunity only comes around once. As such, this is a pressure sport. Players choose to be professional sportsmen, so they must be able to deal with pressure. Taking that into consideration, that should add to the motivation and determination as they look to win the title.
“We are going for it, but, as a new club, as a team just started, what we have already achieved is phenomenal. Whatever else happens now is just a bonus. We have already achieved what many would have said was impossible.”
The best preparation for Good work tomorrow is to do Good work today.final Preps for another massive one tomorrow night#iamcity💙⚽️🙌🏿🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/vsV8NObkf2
City have already beaten Chiefs this season (in the MTN8).
Tinkler, as a former Orlando Pirates coach, has also come up against Chiefs on quite a few occasions for the Soweto derby. He knows what to expect, which is why, even though he is confident his team can pull it off, he is nevertheless aware of the danger the opposition presents.
“With six games to go, we want to win as many points as we can,” he said. “The first obstacle, of course, is Chiefs and they are a very good team. We will have to be motivated, disciplined and display a very good work ethic.
“The fact that they played at the weekend is perhaps to our advantage (Chiefs lost to SuperSport in the Nedbank Cup). It’s not easy playing 120 minutes, then losing the penalty shoot-out, and soon after you are having to play another big game. It’s a headache for Steve (Komphela, Chiefs coach). Does he rotate? Who does he play?
“But, for us, we can’t concern ourselves too much, we just need to focus on ourselves. It doesn’t matter who they pick to play, we know what brand of football they will use, and we will just have to follow the processes that have made us so successful this season.”
Tinkler, in fact, made no secret of his admiration for Komphela and what he has achieved under difficult circumstances at the Soweto club.
“I’ve known Steve (Komphela) for many years. He is a phenomenal person and a great leader. He is intelligent and certainly has the gift of the gab. In fact, I’ve always thought that he would perhaps be Safa president "