Football is a cruel, unpredictable sport and, as Tinkler stressed, “a coach is only as good as his last game”.
City’s push for a third-place finish on the PSL standings faces a searching examination when they host tricky Golden Arrows at the Athlone Stadium on Wednesday night (kick-off 7.30pm). With two games remaining in the Cape club’s debut campaign, Tinkler is demanding a strong response from his players.
“It’s important that we finish on a positive note,” said the City coach. “Our objective is to finish third and, to achieve that, we need three points from our last two games. This is our home game, so it would be better to take those three points now.
“There is a lot of disappointment about the last few weeks and I suppose if things had gone better, we could have been in a better position. But it’s pointless to speak of ‘if this or if that’ if you do that, you could probably even go all the way back to earlier in the season and say ‘what if’. So, while there are no regrets, we have to say congratulations for what we have achieved. And, to top it all off, we have to make sure we finish third.”
Tinkler has, of course, been integral to the phenomenal success of City, especially with regard to the overall organisation of the squad, his tactical nous and his ability to get the best out of the team. But, as a former player himself, he knows that anybody in this erratic sport who loudly and brashly trumpets his own achievements is a fool. Football abhors arrogance.
“Things turn so quickly in football,” said Tinkler. “You can so quickly go from hero to zero – look at what happened at Leicester City. Sometimes it all hinges on one result, and does that make you a good coach or a bad coach? No. It’s just the nature of the beast And, as a coach, you just have to accept and deal with the pressure, and give your utmost in every game, which is what I always strive to do.”
In Arrows on Wednesday night, though, Tinkler is aware of the difficulty of coming up against a team with an unorthodox style of football.
“They (Arrows), have a place in the top eight in mind (the Durban team are in ninth position on the PSL log),” said Tinkler. “But they also have the weekend’s Nedbank Cup semi-final on their mind, and they have eight players on three yellow cards. It’s something that might disadvantage them. They’ll be highly motivated to get into the top eight.”
With the season drawing to a close, followers of the local game are, of course, all thinking about who will win the PSL’s most prestigious award as the best player of the season. Asked to take off his City hat, and think about the campaign objectively, who would be Tinkler’s pick for the Player of the Season award?
“Now you’re putting me under pressure,” said the City coach.
“Obviously, Aubrey Ngoma and Lebogang Manyama have had fantastic season for us, but I think Tau (Percy) has been phenomenal for Sundowns too. He is a huge talent.
“But overall I would say Ngoma.”