The struggle is real for Citizens
CAPE TOWN – Craig Martin has been a Cape Town City player since 2017 and says this has been the most difficult season for him and the team.
How right the right-back, who can also play on the wing, is.
The Citizens aren’t exactly setting the world alight in the Absa Premiership - they have five wins from 21 games - and even hit rock bottom at one time in the standings, while cup results have been the worst yet.
They were knocked out in the opening rounds of the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout followed up by Sunday’s shocking Nedbank Cup loss away to GladAfrica outfit Mbombela United. A pitiful performance, a real stinker of a result if ever there was one.
The Capetonians conceded the only goal of the game in the first half from an attacking set-piece that saw the men from Mpumalanga launch a counter-attack and score through their marksman Justice Figuaredo.
To lose to a lower-tier rival placed second-bottom in their league and flirting with relegation sums up City’s plight. They are once-feared foe no more.
Those days of free-flowing fair and goals galore are long-gone. The only things left to play for now are pride and avoiding the relegation scrap. The sooner the season is over the better for all concerned.
Martin should have played over the weekend, but didn’t, as head coach Jan Olde Riekerink left him on the bench when his speed and explosive runs could have made all the difference when the chips were down.
To swop a defender for a defender when down on the scoreboard instead of going on full attack made no sense at all.
Then again, those at the front of the Dutch tacticians formation were hardly a threat to anybody but themselves.
But Martin, who was scouted from the amateur leagues in Cape Town, is one member of the squad who leaves it all out there in combat. And he wants to be in the starting XI.
“Not being a regular motivates me even more,” he said.
“I know I can make an impact from the bench but my goal is to start. I had a lot to prove to the new coach and I worked hard on parts of my game that I felt I needed to improve on.”
The 26-year-old, who made his professional debut for the club in the same season that Benni McCarthy became the head coach, added: “The new coach has brought a new outlook to how I see things in training and during games. He has his own ideas and because I’ve needed to adapt to them it’s improved me as a player too.
“Not only have I adapted but through every coach I work with I learn something new.”
Mike de Bruyn