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Eric Tinkler’s in-form Cape Town City are the real deal

FILE - Cape Town City head coach Eric Tinkler. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

FILE - Cape Town City head coach Eric Tinkler. Photo: Shaun Roy/BackpagePix

Published Apr 5, 2022


Cape Town — Eric Tinkler's Cape Town City have set their sights on a rare consecutive fourth win in the DStv Premiership when they run out on Wednesday against hosts Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium (7.30pm).

Over the weekend, City made it three in a row with a whopping 5-1 win over Baroka after both teams each picked up a red card in the match.

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It was, however, a red-letter day for Tinkler. It was the second time in his coaching career that a team under his guidance scored five goals in a Premiership clash. While at Pirates, the team ran up a 5-0 win over Jomo Cosmos in March 2016.

Wednesday's clash could mark another milestone in Tinkler's coaching career. The only time City have ever won four matches in a row was in November 2016, when Tinkler was serving his first stint as City's coach. City Mamelodi Sundowns, Bloemfontein Celtic, Chippa United and finally Maritzburg.

After three wins, Maritzburg is next in line on Wednesday. The situation was the same in November 2016 when Maritzburg was the fourth team they faced after three consecutive wins.

City will be without Mduduzi Mdantsane who scored two goals in the 5-1 rout against his former club Baroka. He was given marching orders in the second half and is under suspension. Midfielder Thato Mokeke has served his suspension and will take Mdantsane's place.

"Emphatic win and an emphatic result," said Tinkler, referring to the Baroka rout. "We are disappointed for losing Mdu (Mdatsene) for the match. I thought the second yellow was a bit harsh and we will lose him for a couple of matches.

"At least, Thato Mokeke comes back after serving a suspension.

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"Three wins on the trot has been good and it hasn't happened since April last year."

Maritzburg last played three weeks ago when they drew 1-1 with Sekhukhune United in mid-March. A week earlier, they inflicted a shock 2-1 defeat on runaway log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

Coach Ernst Middendorp's main objective at this stage is to steer the team clear of the relegation zone. He feels the team is battling to cope with pressure.

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For Maritzburg, attacking midfielder Keegan Ritchie has been playing well and has found the back of the net a few times in recent matches. Along with fullback Lucky Baloyi, they have been impressive for Maritzburg. Baloyi made his Premiership debut when Maritzburg defeated Sundowns.

Meanwhile, at Ellis Park, in Johannesburg (5.30pm), CAF Confed Cup quarter-finalists Orlando Pirates return to domestic action against Sekhukhune who are looking to cement a Top 8 slot on the Premiership standings.

Hosts Sekhukhune face a formidable task because the confidence in the Pirates camp is sky-high, and several key players have had a break from the game for a week.

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In their last outing, Sekhukhune were held to a draw (1-1) and their coach MacDonald Makhubedu felt the game in Stellenbosch was there for the taking.

“Definitely (it was two points dropped) we were disappointed," said Makhubedu. "It was a mistake from one of our good players that allowed Stellenbosch to equalise. If it was not for that, I think we could have won the game."

Pirates' co-coach Mandla Ncikazi has called on his team to adopt a “winning mentality” ahead of the match.

"We must learn to take the chances that we create. We should strive to create unity within the team and give players confidence.

“Confident teams win matches. Happy players win matches. I know the outcry from our supporters, but we try to protect the players."

Meanwhile, at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto, relegation-threatened Swallows host Sundowns (start 7.30pm).

It will be Sundowns' first match since the appointment of Flemming Berg as the club's Sporting Director. The former Chelsea talent scout will be in the stands to run rule over the players so that he can start assessing what the club's personnel requirements are for the future.


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