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We owe Stellenbosch, says City coach Eric Tinkler ahead of Cape derby

Cape Town City head coach Eric Tinkler is looking forward to their Cape derby clash against Stellenbosch FC with both teams doing well in the DStv Premiership. Photo: Cape Town City FC

Cape Town City head coach Eric Tinkler is looking forward to their Cape derby clash against Stellenbosch FC with both teams doing well in the DStv Premiership. Photo: Cape Town City FC

Published May 16, 2022


Cape Town — “Die Kaap is weer Hollands!

The old age Afrikaans saying, which literally means “Everything is right again in the Cape” perfectly illustrates the positive mood around football in the Mother City at the moment.

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After the barren years of Cape Town City flying solo in the professional ranks, and on occasion being engulfed by the super Gauteng clubs, the excitement of a Cape derby is back with Stellenbosch FC proving worthy local rivals.

Both Western Cape clubs have enjoyed a 2021/22 DStv Premiership season to remember heading into their final game at the Danie Craven on Saturday.

City are placed second on the table behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns, while Stellies, who survived relegation by the barest of margins last season, are just three places adrift in fifth position.

It has been a remarkable achievement for both Western Cape clubs, with City enjoying a fairytale second half of the season that has seen them concede just four goals.

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They will both harbour dreams of inaugural continental campaigns in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup respectively next season, but there is first some business in the backyard to attend to.

Stellenbosch, under the astute guidance of Steve Barker, overwhelmed their more fancied “big brothers” from Cape Town in the first derby of the season when the visitors from the winelands ran out 3-0 victors at Athlone Stadium.

It is a defeat that still rankles with City coach Eric Tinkler, who was named PSL Coach of the Month on Monday for his team’s exploits during April.

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“We were nowhere near our best that night. We were still struggling defensively in terms of our structure, in terms of playing collectively in front and at the back in terms of the way I wanted the team to play,” Tinkler said on Monday.

“We weren’t very good on the night, and they hurt us on the counter in terms of their pace. I think we have learnt, we’ve got a lot better at that. We know how to play against teams with speed. I think we showed that against Sundowns, in terms of Shalulile and the runs he makes. We kept him very quiet.

“(Ashley) Du Preez is always a threat. He is always a danger, and that’s how they hurt Sundowns on the counter. But we’ve improved in that respect, and yes … we do owe them!”

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City and Tinkler will certainly not be caught with their pants down again, especially after the speedy Du Preez produced a timely reminder of his ability when he netted a brace in Stellies’ 3-0 victory over Sundowns at Tuks Stadium last weekend.

And even though the Citizens will be without inspirational central defender Taariq Fielies due to the yellow card conceded against AmaZulu last Saturday, Tinkler has the equally impressive Nathan Fasika to call upon to partner Keanu Cupido in the heart of the defence.

Everything is certainly shaping up for the latest instalment of the Cape derby to be a cracker once again. Tinkler is just hoping that with the Covid-19 restrictions now lifted that the football patrons of the Western Cape return to the Danie Craven stadium on Saturday to show their appreciation for what the players from both teams have achieved this season.

“It’s a little bit disappointing seeing the numbers of fans at the stadiums (since the return of spectators have been allowed). I know South African fans are very fickle in terms of supporting our teams only when they are winning. But we are winning. And I would love to see the fans coming back to the stadium on Saturday,” the former Bafana Bafana midfielder said.


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