Cape Town City are grateful to have a player like Bradley “Surprise” Ralani, says captain Thami Mkhize. Photo: BackpagePix
Cape Town City are grateful to have a player like Bradley “Surprise” Ralani, says captain Thami Mkhize.

South Africa’s left back was talking to the media at the club’s training ground at Hartleyvale on Wednesday in the build-up to tonight’s Absa Premiership clash with Black Leopards at the Cape Town Stadium (8pm kick-off).

“I’ve been inspired. Surprise has been one of the players who’s always encouraging everyone on the field with his performance. He doesn’t talk much, but when he’s on the field you can see that his performance is inspiring everyone at Cape Town City,” he said.

Last week it was another senior player in the form of midfielder Thabo Nodada who was singing the praises of the little fellow with quick feet.

Ralani scored in the 2-2 draw with AmaZulu, and next time out against higher-placed Bidvest Wits provided the assist to set up fellow winger Craig Martin for the calmest of finishes for a 2-0 victory over the Clever Boys, who surrendered a seven-game unbeaten run on the road.

Striker Kermit Erasmus got the first goal to take his tally to eight.

Ralani says he’s been humbled by the comments of his teammates.

“It’s great when you do something good and the people acknowledge what you are doing. It pushes me to want to do better. Two years back I had my best season in my career (at Helsingborg in Sweden). I am still looking forward to having a season like that. I have been doing well, but I don’t feel like I have reached that level where I am at my best. But I just want to play football the way I did as a kid, be happy on the field and do what I can to help the team,” he said.

Leopards had City’s number in the first round in December, winning 2-1 at home in Thohoyandou.

Ralani, who scored, wants revenge. “We were downed by a sucker-punch in the last minute. They held leaders Kaizer Chiefs to a 1-1 draw last time out and everybody knows how good Amakhosi are this season, so they will arrive in the Mother City highly motivated. But we want to set the record straight and aim to take all three points and continue our move away from the danger zone.”

The Capetonians have had a taste of life at the foot of the table. But with two wins and a draw from their last four outings this month they’ve risen to 12th on the 16-team table on 20 points. Leopards zapped a four-game losing streak that sees Lidoda Duvha placed third-bottom on 17 points.

City coach Jan Olde Riekerink wants to see his charges clone their second-half performance against Wits.

“The boys controlled the game well by keeping the ball on the ground and dominating proceedings playing smart. They also showed a lot of fight and fought hard for each other,” he said.

Mike de Bruyn