CAPE TOWN – Cape Town City’s Bhongolwethu Jayiya was the toast of the Mother City on Monday night, but spare a thought for the role played by head coach Eric Tinkler in the right-winger’s achievement.

Jayiy netted a sensational and historic hat-trick in a 4-1 win for City over Chippa United at Athlone Stadium that sent the Capetonians back to the top of the Absa Premiership standings.

While Jayiya’s treble inside 16 minutes was the fastest in PSL history, more concerning for the other title-contenders was the impressive overall team performance laid on by City.

Make no mistake, based on Monday’s display, they are serious challengers for the championship.

In essence, therefore, as a coach, this becomes important with regards to team selection. Don’t pick names, take sentiment out of the equation, don’t look at past form and, importantly, don’t be dictated to by the coaches sitting on the terraces. There is only one criteria: Watch how the players train and be guided by that. Tinkler is such a coach...

Jayiya had been out of the team for a while because Sibusiso Masina had been doing very well playing on the right flank.

But, as Tinkler explains: “During the week, Bongo (Jayiya) was showing a lot of things at training. I was in doubt as to whether to play him or Masina, who has been playing very well recently. But, after what I saw at training, I took the risk with Jayiya and he scored three goals in 16 minutes.

“I’ve been on Bongo’s case for a while because of his inconsistency. He’s a player I found when working at Wits in 2007. He was in the Wits Second Division side then and eventually worked his way into the PSL squad.

“He probably should have achieved more than he has up to now. He’s got speed, he can finish, he’s good technically and very good aerially. He just needs to be more consistent. But I’m happy for his achievement.”

As for Jayiya, like every single player in the City squad, he fobbed off any personal praise and preferred to see the victory as a team effort.

“It was all about the result,” he said.

“The previous two games we didn’t play well, so we had to come out and play our football. This trophy (man-of-the-match award) is for my teammates and the management.”

For City, it was a performance to savour, especially the opening 25 minutes when they ran Chippa ragged.

“That opening period was as close to perfect as you can get,” said Tinkler.

“Chippa are a possession-based team, which means they will take risks. If you stay organised and intercept, you can catch them on the counter. It worked for us and we could probably have gone in with five or six goals at the break.”

As for Chippa coach Dan Malesela, there was little to enthuse over – and he cut a disconsolate, dejected figure after the heavy defeat.

“In football, you get days like this when the goals just come against you,” said Malesela. “We had a horrible first half in which both wingbacks were guilty of silly errors and a lack of focus. I can’t understand why

“But moaning about it won’t help. What is important now is what we do from here, in how we respond. We haven’t played like this ever, and we haven’t ever conceded four goals. All we can do is try to find a solution so it doesn’t happen again.”

As for City, as they focus on the title race, next up will be Platinum Stars away (13 April) and Wits at home (19 April). Tinkler admits it’s going to be a real close finish come the end of the season.

“It was satisfying to get goals because it improves our goal average,” Tinkler said.

“You never know when you might need it at the end of the campaign. As we’ve seen, in the PSL anybody can beat anybody I think it’s going to be a tight league this season.”

On the negative side, City will be without influential Austrian Roland Putsche for their next match. The combative midfielder picked up a fourth booking and will sit out an automatic one-match ban.

There are also doubts around Putsche’s central midfield partner Mpho Matsi, who limped off injured in the 18th minute on Monday night. The two are vital for the Cape side – and Tinkler is hoping that, with Putsche out for the Stars game, Matsi will be able to recover in time.

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Cape Times