A moment to savour for coach Jan Olde Riekerink
Captain Thami Mkhize headed home the only goal of the game in the second half to seal a hard-fought victory over fellow strugglers Baroka FC at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday, ending a five-game winless run for the Citizens, who climb five places to 11th on the table propped up now by Limpopo-based Baroka.
For City’s new Dutch coach Jan Olde Riekerink it was a moment to savour as it was his first triumph since taking on the position in the first week of November. He’s worked his socks off since replacing Benni McCarthy, and it is paying dividends.
The squad is fitter now, skill levels sharper. All he wants to achieve during his tenure is to make his charges better players, and he seems to be on track.
The coach is not taking the credit for the downing of Baroka, preferring instead to heap praise on his troops for doing the business under dollops of pressure.
“They’ve been working hard on the training ground and wanted to show what they’re made of,” he said. “The goal was to zap a losing run - mission accomplished, now to follow up with a big performance at home to AmaZulu on Wednesday. Another positive result can only boost confidence levels.”
City do have the armoury to beat any foe, an array of men capable of finding the target, but to cash in these guys need to believe in themselves more.
Kermit Erasmus remains the go-to-man, he’s a natural born striker who can explode into action at any given time. Behind the little maestro lurk the figures of game-breakers Thabo Nodada and Surprise Ralani, two attack-minded players blessed with pace, movement and the vision to carve openings in defences.
Add Chris David, Roland Putsche, Thato Mokeke and Mpho Makola to the mix along with Mkhize, a right back who operates like a forward and never gives up the chase, and the Citizens do have it all to be a major player in the second round. The only area of concern is the defensive line, which has had its fair share of mishaps.
Now if the team selected to do battle with coastal rivals AmaZulu pitches up in more ways than one at the Cape Town Stadium, it would mean goals galore for the Capetonians and a fourth three-pointer nailed down.
Meanwhile, Stellenbosch FC, who started the year with a 2-0 defeat at home to title contenders Wits, entertain Bloemfontein Celtic at the Cape Town Stadium today (7.30pm kick-off). The Winelands side’s seventh loss of the season from 16 starts dropped them to second-last place on the log.
Mike de Bruyn