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Please don’t tell me I don’t have the qualifications, says Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler

Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler addresses the media during a press conference, where the club announced their new partnership with FNB.

Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler addresses the media during a press conference, where the club announced their new partnership with FNB. Picture: Phando Jikelo African News Agency (ANA)

Published Aug 1, 2022

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Cape Town — Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler is still in limbo with regards to whether he will be allowed to sit on his team’s bench in this season’s Caf Champions League.

Tinkler is in possession of a Uefa A licence, but not a Caf A or Uefa Pro licence that has been deemed the prerequisite for coaches to perform their duties in Africa’s premier club competition.

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The 52-year-old has, though, over a decade’s worth of coaching experience in the Premiership and has previously also steered Soweto giants Orlando Pirates to the Caf Confederation Cup final in 2015.

Club chairperson John Comitis has already voiced his displeasure in regards to Tinkler’s situation, stating that “I have seen European coaches coaching in Africa but there are no African coaches in Europe. Eric has a European licence that he cannot use in Africa. Caf and Fifa must standardise these coaching qualifications.”

Tinkler had been silent on the issue, until Monday at the club’s unveiling of their new headline sponsor, where he made his feelings very clear.

“We are still waiting for an answer,” said Tinkler on whether he will be allowed to be part of City’s Champions League campaign.

“I don’t want to go into depth and have people asking me questions around this. But I want to put this story a little straighter than it is right now.

“I have held my Uefa A licence since 2006. I would like to remind people that I was one of the first South African coaches to hold a Uefa licence. The Uefa licence was the highest level of qualification that you could have in 2006.

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“Did it get me a head coaching job in South Africa? No, it didn’t. Sixteen years I’ve been involved as a coach. Please don’t tell me I don’t have the qualifications.”

It would certainly be a major blow to the ambitious City should Tinkler not be given the green light for the club’s maiden Champions League campaign.

Tinkler and Comitis have assembled a talent-laden squad that has recently been boosted with the valuable experience of former Citizens hero Lebohang Manyama from Kaizer Chiefs and Marc van Heerden to guide youngsters such as American rookie Jordan Bender and Guinea youth international Kajally Drammeh.

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Instead of being daunted by the challenge of possibly facing the likes of Al Ahly, Wydad Casablanca, Esperance and ES Tunis, Tinkler believes these are the games that his team are looking forward to.

“It is a massive motivating factor for the players. The way you measure yourself as a professional sportsperson is playing at the highest level. What is the highest level on the African continent? Caf Champions League. That’s the level you want to be playing at,” Tinkler said.

“Why do you want to be playing at that level? Because that’s where all the European scouts come to watch, especially if you’re playing in Morocco, Egypt, Senegal and Tunisia. If you’re playing against those teams there, that’s where you’re getting exposure. This is a massive opportunity for the players, and for us as a club. We are not going to take it lightly. We are going into every single game: looking to win! It doesn’t matter which competition it is.”

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City kickstart their Premiership season on Friday evening (7:30pm kickoff) before their home fans in a mouth-watering clash with champions Mamelodi Sundowns at Cape Town Stadium.

@ZaahierAdams

IOL Sport

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