COMMENT: Is it time for change at Cape Town’s DStv Premiership clubs after 14 winless matches?

Cape Town Spurs are still searching for a win in the DStv Premiership. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Cape Town Spurs are still searching for a win in the DStv Premiership. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Sep 21, 2023


Just when you think that the crisis which has hit Cape Town's three PSL clubs cannot get any worse, they continue to plumb new depths of despair.

On Tuesday night, hapless Cape Town Spurs suffered their sixth consecutive defeat after they lost 2-1 to Golden Arrows. This losing streak equalled the PSL Premiership record of a club losing the first six league matches of the season. The record was held by Umtata Bush Bucks who in the 1999/00 season lost their first six matches.

Also on Tuesday evening, some 50 kilometres further down the N2, Stellenbosch went down 2-0 to Moroka Swallows. It was Stellenbosch's fourth consecutive match without a win, although they managed a draw during this phase.

Last Sunday, the Cape's third Premiership team Cape Town City lost 3-2 to AmaZulu. This result was City's fourth consecutive defeat.

The latest results of the three Cape teams mark a collective 14-match cycle (Spurs 6, City 4 and Stellenbosch 4) without a win. This dreadful sequence has seen the teams remain helplessly mired in the bottom five places of the Premiership standings.

There was a time when Cape Town football was a national powerhouse and home to some of the strongest clubs in the country. Over the years Cape Town clubs won league titles and lifted numerous cup trophies.

— SuperSport Football ⚽️ (@SSFootball) September 20, 2023

This latest state of affairs has left Mother City fans bewildered and wondering exactly where their teams will end up.

All three teams are owned by wealthy businessmen and the chairmen are all blessed with finely tuned business acumen. The owners are all successful businessmen and the clubs have sound infrastructures in place.

What appears to be the problem, according to experts who are not connected to any of the three clubs, is the absence of a director of football or director of soccer, sometimes also called a sporting director.

The country's most successful club Mamelodi Sundowns has appointed Flemming Berg as its sporting director. He has vast experience after serving in various administrative positions in different countries.

The sporting director is a senior management figure in the club and is the go-between the chairman or the CEO and the coach. He will advise against quick-fix solutions and guard against short-term thinking.

Since the Premiership is still in its early season stages there is still time to come up with a turnaround strategy to arrest the downward spiral.

As Spurs for example the big problem appears to be the lack of quality players in the squad. Coach Shaun Bartlett has said the lapses of concentration during matches have proved costly. He is also frustrated by a lack of consistency from his players.

These two issues, lapses of concentration and lack of consistency, point to deficiencies in his squad. Bartlett said he has already worked on these areas of concern and now that the club has not had a win, it may be time to turn to the market.

Stellenbosch has been selling off top-class players without bringing in 'like' replacements. It's been wonderful that Stellenbosch has made a killing in the transfer market after releasing key players like Junior Mendieta and Ashley du Preez.

Club coach Steve Barker had nothing to do with the transfers because he has spoken to the media about retaining their best players to be a successful team.

Stellenbosch is owned by one of the richest men on the continent, so it is hard to accept that the club's primary focus is to make money.

Cape Town City seemed to have initiated corrective action by appointing former club captain Lebogang Manyama as an assistant coach in Eric Tinkler's technical team.

This appointment suggests that the club's boss, John Comitis, felt that Tinkler's technical team needed to be strengthened by a former player who has played close to 300 Premiership matches but has no coaching experience.

Only time will tell if Comitis was on the right track.