Cape Town City chairman John Comitis and head coach Eric Tinkler. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix
CAPE TOWN - In a short space of time, Cape Town City have captured the imagination of football followers across the country.

In their debut season as a Mother City top-flight club, they have already won the Telkom Knockout Cup and are at the summit of the league standings.

The “Citizens” are in a great position to mount a serious challenge for the PSL title. Now wouldn’t that just be something: Winning the championship at the first attempt?

But the accolades, the glory, the media headlines and the growing support base are but superficial.

Behind the scenes, a frustrated City are having to cope with training and match venue issues that are getting more problematic by the day.

And, with just a third of the season to go, the Capetonians are concerned that the situation has the potential to derail their title challenge.

Already, City have had to postpone this week’s fixture against Chippa United to Monday night because there is no venue available.

The game was scheduled for Saturday, but Cape Town Stadium is being used for another event and Athlone Stadium is hosting an NFD match between Stellenbosch FC and AmaZulu.

To compound matters, City inked a deal with the city to play 11 of their 15 home league games at Cape Town Stadium. But, because of their superb Cup-winning run, it added three more games to their list and unsure whether the city will allow the remaining games to be played at there.

But the training venue problem is of even greater concern at the moment.

The players and the coach (Eric Tinkler) aren’t happy, and club boss John Comitis remains locked in negotiations with the city to try and find a solution to the problem.

It’s a given that, any team with eyes on the title, especially in the professional era, need to have a decent training facility. At the moment, City don’t.

Let’s rewind. Back when City were formed, they had an agreement with rugby club SK Walmers, with the city’s permission, to temporarily use their field in the Green Point precinct. The city and the Citizens both put in R150 000 each to upgrade the field to bring it in line with the new club’s standards.

During this time, though, the city were to find another venue for the rugby club. This has not come to fruition - and, rightly so, SK Walmers asked for their field to be returned, which City agreed to.

Now the club are training at a primary school field in Gardens, suburb in the Cape Town CBD. “The art of staying at the top has been stability, calm, no pressure on the players,” said Comitis. “We will continue to work with the city, and hope a solution can be found.”

The Star