Spurs hit ‘reset’ button again

Alexi Efstathiou. | BackpagePix

Alexi Efstathiou. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 12, 2024

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HERMAN GIBBS

Cape Town Spurs bravely closed out a hectic three-match period over six days with two draws and a win as their relegation escape plans gain momentum.

After their 2-0 win over TS Galaxy on March 3, Spurs played away games against Orlando Pirates (March 6) and Stellenbosch (March 9). Their last two matches were against teams in the top three positions on the latest DStv Premiership standings.

Following this unbeaten streak, Spurs are still marooned at the foot end of the Premiership table, but the team is no longer relegation doomed.

Alexi Efstathiou. | BackpagePix

Ari Efstathiou, chairman of Spurs, said the recent results were excellent but the club continue their fight against potential relegation from the Premiership. Efstathiou said German coach Ernst Middendorp had made some radical changes and these have paid dividends.

“We had far too many players not pulling their weight and were mere passengers in the squad. Middendorp identified the problem areas and acted on it,” said Efstathiou.

“We had a chance to press the ‘reset’ button while the Africa Cup of Nations was in progress and Middendorp used the time effectively. There’s another international window coming up so we will press the ‘reset’ button again.

“There are 10 matches left and we are two below Richards Bay (in 15th place). Once we can pass Richards Bay our relegation escape plan has a far higher rate of succeeding.

“One aspect of our approach in recent weeks has been the success of blooding new players. All the new players have been a success, and this bodes well for the future of the club.”

Spurs began the season with a record-breaking run of eight successive defeats.

Middendorp engineered the comeback although he did not win any of his first five games in charge.

Spurs are still 10 points away from safety and Middendorp has warned there is a long way to go. The German coach has the distinction of orchestrating the best previous escape act in the Premier Soccer League.

Middendorp took over from Fadlu Davids at Maritzburg United in December 2015 when they languished bottom of the Premiership with a paltry eight points at the halfway stage of the season.

They ended up finishing 14th as they came from a goal down to score three goals in the last nine minutes against Jomo Cosmos at Olen Park in Potchefstroom. They leapfrogged Cosmos from last to third from bottom, condemning their hosts instead to automatic relegation.

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DStv PremiershipSoccer