Vasili Manousakis, assistant coach of Cape Town City, expects a tough outing against Highlands Park tonight. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Cape Town City go into tonight’s Premier League clash with Highlands Park at Cape Town Stadium with one goal in mind: victory. But it won’t be easy against a “dogged and difficult” team.

“That’s the mission we’ve set for the boys,” said City assistant coach Vasili Manousakis. “We’ve slipped off the pace somewhat in the race for league honours these past few weeks and are without a win in three outings, so a change in fortunes is a must if we want to stay in contention.

“The Park encounter will be a tough assignment, they are a disciplined side, dogged and difficult to break down. Key players for them are centre-forward Peter Shalulile and defensive midfielder Mothobi Mvala. We had their number in the Nedbank Cup but needed 60 minutes to go ahead, before going on to win 3-0. Lost pride won back after taking a 2-0 beating in the league.”

City will know that if they don’t beat Highlands Park and table-topping Orlando Pirates beat bottom-placed Maritzburg United tomorrow, their bid for a maiden league title will have to wait for another season.

Pirates sit atop the league on 50 points with two games to play. City trail the Buccaneers, who they play Saturday week at home, by 10 points with two games in hand.

They need to win both for a six-point haul, anything less and the Citizens will be playing for log position only.

Vasili Manousakis: A change in fortunes is a must if we want to stay in contention in the League. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Vasili Manousakis: A change in fortunes is a must if we want to stay in contention in the League. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

“You know, if we fall out of contention then we re-focus on improving on last season’s fifth-place finish. A top-three placing would be a good result in the overall scheme of things,” said Manousakis.

City remain the league’s leading scorers (39 goals) despite not scoring in their last two matches, and that’s placed pressure on strikers Kermit Erasmus and Siphelele Mthembu to deliver the goods.

Erasmus (three goals) is feeling the heat after squandering a number of clear-cut chances, while Mthembu - the team’s leading scorer with seven - seems to be down on confidence.

Subscribe to the IOL Sport Newsletter!

“We need these guys who have been paired together to make their presence felt and grab the game by the scruff of the neck,” added Manousakis.

“Then for Chris David as one of the offensive players to stamp his authority on proceedings; he started well for us as a new signing during the January transfer window and he now needs to deliver more of the same. You take our captain Thami Mkhize, he’s a right-back who’s one of our most offensive players.

“He’s easily the best player in the country in his position and will be a huge asset for Bafana Bafana now that he’s back in the team.”

Mike de Bruyn