“We want to end the year off on a high note, having won five of our last six league matches," says Cape Town City captain Thami Mkhize. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Cape Town City play their last two games of the year at home, and they will be hoping to end 2018 off on a positive note.

Eighth-placed City face second-bottom Chippa United at Athlone Stadium on Tuesday (7.30pm kickoff).

“It’s always encouraging to play at home and we want to give our supporters, who we love and appreciate, an early Christmas present, that being six points,” said City captain Thami Mkhize.

“But before we can start any gift-wrapping, we must first see off Chippa and then a repeat against Bloemfontein Celtic at Cape Town Stadium, and that game’s three days before Christmas Day.

“We want to end the year off on a high note, having won five of our last six league matches.

“It would sure make for a far happier festive season.”

Should City complete back-to-back victories, it would result in a steep climb up the league standings a game shy of the halfway stage of their campaign.

And the locals do believe they can close in on the title race, with Mkhize saying second place would be great, and first place would be unreal.

Orlando Pirates currently top the standings on 24 points, but have played two more games than second-placed Wits, who are a point behind.

Defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns round off the top three and are three points off the pace, but have three games in hand over Pirates.

City had their three-game winning streak ended in a 2-0 away defeat to PSL rookies Highlands Park last Saturday.

Coach Benni McCarthy is always looking for ways to improve his players, and they do lap up every word he says, which you can clearly witness when attending training sessions.

No surprise then that the two-hour workout on Wednesday went on for an extra half-hour.

The focus on the day was on transition: players being far sharper in mind and pressing more when being dispossessed of the ball.

Training the mind to react instinctively to such a scenario in a game situation is a work in progress.

“We’re always trying to better ourselves,” said Mkhize, who has been with the club since its formation in 2016.

“For me, it’s pleasing to see how the youngsters are coming along.

“A player like Thabo Nodada, he’s exceptional now. When he first arrived here, he was in and out, but look at him now.

“He’s already been called up to the national team.

“If you are a good player but you don’t show consistency, people will never talk about you.

“They will never see your talent because you are on and off. Thabo, they’re talking about him all the time now.

“Then there’s Siphelele Mthembu and Gift Links strutting their stuff, the latter a teenager who has a final appearance to his name in our MTN8 success.”

Cape Times

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