Cape Town Spurs’ fate sealed without their input

Ashley Cupido of Cape Town Spurs. | BackpagePix

Ashley Cupido of Cape Town Spurs. | BackpagePix

Published May 13, 2024



Cape Town Spurs were spared the added emotional distress of playing a match and then finding out at the end that they would be relegated. Instead, Spurs’ players learnt their dreadful fate on Saturday night on TV when the match between Orlando Pirates and Richards Bay ended.

Incredibly, Richards Bay, one of the weakest Premiership teams, defeated high-flying Pirates 1-0 on their home patch, which over the years has been dubbed the “slaughterhouse” because so many visiting teams have suffered big defeats there.

Colin Ryan of Cape Town Spurs is challenged by Shandre Campbell of Supersport United. | . BackpagePix

However, the result had a direct impact on Spurs’ fate because Richards Bay opened an eight-point lead at the bottom of the Premiership standings. Richards Bay’s points haul saw the team move from 24 points to 27 as they brought Pirates’ seven-match winning streak to an end.

With this eight-point lead, the 15th-placed Richards Bay were now in an unassailable position. The 16th placed Spurs (19 points) can only score a maximum of six points in their remaining two games.

On Friday night, Spurs put up a brave fight in their goalless draw against SuperSport United, although the result left them teetering on the brink of relegation.

It was a tremendous result for Spurs, who played almost the entire match with 10 players after defender Gadiel Kamagi was red-carded in the 16th minute at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

Liam Bern of Cape Town Spurs. | BackpagePix

It looked like the football gods were standing in for Kamagi because on three occasions the Spurs keeper, Sage Stephens, was hopelessly out of position, but SuperSport failed to score because their shots were blocked by defenders who were standing motionless on the goal line.

The match marked a sequence of underwhelming performances in 28 rounds of Premiership matches, after a dreadful start to the season when the club lost nine matches on the trot.

It was an early sign that Spurs’ season was starting to fall apart as they battled to cope in the elite league after gaining promotion from the National First Division at the end of last season.

On reflection, the biggest curse in the club was the lack of football know-how in the administration ranks. The club has some very successful businessmen at the helm, and the club has sound structures, which have provided a platform for excellent youth teams.

This lack of know-how caused the club to campaign with ageing, below-standard playing personnel when it started playing in the Premiership. As the season wore on, the club’s hierarchy failed to heed the warning signs.

In March this year, Spurs finally made a move and brought in technical director Sean Connor to replace coach Shaun Bartlett. At the outset of Connor’s tenure, there were positive signs, after he felt that the squad needed to rid itself of ageing players.

Next, Spurs brought in the vastly experienced Ernst Middendorp, and he produced some great results. However, it turned out to be a case of too little too late.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, Spurs’ media machine took to social media to post an epitaph, which shows the club has graciously accepted their fate.

The post, headlined Badge of Honour, read: “This is who we are. This is what we stand for. This is our crest. A beacon of light for our youth. Our hope for the future. Our path of our values: Honesty, Hard Work, Respect, Discipline, Humility. A Warrior spirit unbroken.”

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