Are Cape Town City worthy to be mentioned in the same sentence as the Big Three?
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Cape Town — Cape Town City would like to believe they are worthy of sitting at the same table as the Big Three of South African football: Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and, of course, Mamelodi Sundowns.
They might not boast the legacy of the aforementioned trio and the financial support it has brought them, but in terms of professionalism, structures and high-quality coaching there is certainly a case to be made.
Equally, and arguably most importantly, the Citizens can go toe-to-toe with anyone of them on any given day and actually produce the brand of football that could turn the neutral supporters to their side.
The major problem, though, for City over the past couple of seasons has been though how they manage to strike a balance between their natural free-flowing attacking game and a more structured defensive plan.
Furthermore, City are prone to drop points against "the lesser teams" through pure lack of concentration, much like they did in last weekend's 2-2 draw with league strugglers TS Galaxy.
Despite dominating the entire encounter through a brace by influential midfielder Mduduzi Mdantsane, they still allowed the Rockets to snatch a late equaliser — much to the ire of coach Eric Tinkler.
City should certainly have no lack of desire or motivation this week to set the record straight with a trip to the home of SA football, FNB Stadium, looming where an in-form Chiefs lay in wait.
After a sluggish start to the season that has seen coach Stuart Baxter dismiss his team's title chances already after just the first third of the season, Chiefs have moved up to second on the table after a run of four victories from their last five matches.
Baxter has seemingly found a way to unlock the potential of sleeping giant Khama Billiat, who has struggled to reproduce the brilliant form of his Sundowns days.
It is by no means a coincidence that Billiat's performances have improved since the arrival of his partner-in-crime Keegan Dolley at Narurena.
The duo share an almost telephatic relationship and will no doubt cause the likes of Taariq Fielies and Nathan Fasika sleepless nights this ahead of the much-anticipated clash.
The duo, and the rest of the City squad, should though be more afraid of the tongue lashing Tinkler will be serving up at training this week after the debacle in Limpopo at the weekend.
The former Bafana hard man held back no punches in the post-match media briefing in terms of what he expects from his players, particularly the experienced core.
He does have exciting youngsters coming through like Taahir Goedeman, but definitely needs more from players such as Fagrie Lakay, Tashreeq Morris and Thabo Nodada.
There is nothing like a clash against the Mighty Amakhosi to get the engines revving again, and Tinkler will certainly be hoping to see some bustling energy at training this week or there could be wholesale changes made for the trip to Soweto.