Cape Town City ready for Cape Derby against Stellies FC, says Craig Martin
CAPE TOWN – The Cape derby has always been a special occasion on the local football calendar.
Dating back to Cape Town Spurs and Glenville in the 1970s, through to Hellenic and Spurs again in the 90s, followed by Ajax Cape Town and Santos in the 2000s, it has always been a fixture that rouses the emotions of the public.
But perhaps it's the lack of spectators in the stadiums due to Covid-19 and the fact that maybe both Cape Town City and Stellenbosch FC are both relatively newly-established clubs that the Cape derby has lacked a bit of spice over the last two years.
Both teams just seem to have been very friendly with each other in the three previous encounters with City leading the race with two victories to Stellies' one at this early stage. The Citizens also own the bragging rights thus far this season after claiming a 2-1 victory at Coetzenburg in the Round 1 clash last year.
But without wanting to condone any form of ill-disciplined behaviour maybe the derby does indeed require a studs-up tackle to get the respective benches all riled up to infuse some passion into it.
Who can forget former City coach Benni McCarthy's typically Capetonian expletive-laden tirade on an Ajax Cape Town player in a previous derby?
If there is anyone, though, that won’t be lacking any motivation at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday it will be City’s Craig Martin. The speedy winger-cum-defender, who like McCarthy hails from the Cape Flats of the Mother City, bleeds blue and yellow.
“It’s derby day. Everyone has been waiting for this day. The team is excited and ready and the vibe is going great. We need these points and let’s kill them!” said Martin, who also celebrated a maiden Bafana Bafana call-up on Thursday.
City and Stellies have both endured lean patches in the Dstv Premiership of late and also been dumped out of the Nedbank Cup already. The Citizens have not tasted victory in five league matches, while Stellies have slipped even further by winning just one match all year from seven starts. This has seen Steve Barker's team flirt dangerously with the relegation zone in 13th place on the log and they will be hoping the derby is the beginning of a turnaround for them.
"We are not happy with where we are in the league and season thus far. It is a great opportunity for us to turn things around. The mood in the camp has been really good. Our game against Sundowns was postponed so that gave us extra time to prepare for the derby, refresh the mind, refresh the body,” Barker said.
"We are looking forward to the derby. It is always nice to play in derby matches. All previous encounters with Cape Town City have been really tight, hard fought affairs. We have had the upper hand and they have had. It is a really important match for us. It is an opportunity for us to get our season back on track."