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Work cut out for Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler in Caf Champions League

Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler during the DStv Premiership match against Stellenbosch FC at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch

Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler during the DStv Premiership match against Stellenbosch FC at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch on 21 May 2022. Picture: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published May 30, 2022

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Cape Town - Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler believes his team “are going to be a target next season” and that they will have to work extra hard to maintain their status.

City finished runners-up to champions Mamelodi Sundowns in the Dstv Premiership thereby earning qualification to the Caf Champions League for the first time. They also lost narrowly to Sundowns in a penalty shoot-out in the MTN8 final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

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Tinkler is extremely proud of his charges, especially as the club off-loaded a host of senior players during the January transfer period with relatively unknown youngsters from the African continent coming in.

It has though a proved masterstroke as the likes of Cameroon youth international Brice Ambina joined in seamlessly with club veterans Taariq Fielies and Thamsanqa Mkhize. It resulted in City enjoying a record 13-game unbeaten streak from February until the very last day of the season whey they lost to neighbours Stellenbosch FC in the iKapa derby at Danie Craven Stadium.

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“It was a fantastic effort from everyone at the club. We made history at the club, in terms of clean sheets for the club, the fact that we went 13 games unbeaten, and then most importantly finishing second in the league,” said Tinkler.

“But the hard work starts now because we are going to be a target next season. We want to sustain the type of performances we put in at the backend of the season. We want to see consistency from everyone. It is going to be a tough season considering the break for the Fifa World Cup now happening in December instead of the normal period in June/July.”

City’s path to the Caf Champions League is remarkable for a club that has officially only been in existence for six years. This magnitude of the achievement may possibly be lost on the local football fraternity.

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Tinkler, though, is excited by the prospect of City possibly squaring up against the continent's powerhouses such as Egyptian giants Al Ahly and Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca and is hopeful that Cape Town’s football loving public will come out in the droves to support the Citizens next season.

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“We are playing the Caf Champions League, so our preparation is going to be important. The players get a deserved break for the next month and at the end of June we return and start preparing for next season,” Tinkler said.

“The fixtures are going to come thick and fast and hopefully we will be seeing a lot more people coming to the stadium to see Cape Town City Football Club.”

City have already called on reinforcements to their squad for the Caf Champions League campaign by securing the services of PSL Goalkeeper of the Season Hugo Marques for another year and will no doubt be keen to hang on to their impressive DR Congo central defender Nathan Fasika, who has attracted the interest of big-spending Sundowns.

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