Why are Cape Town City FC not fighting for honours higher up the league table?
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Cape Town – Cape Town City are simply a frustration. They are a team blessed with an abundance of talent put together by the shrewdness of their wily owner John Comitis.
They have a coach, Eric Tinkler, that has played at the highest level both at club level in the English Premiership and internationally for Bafana Bafana. Equally, he is one of the most astute tacticians in the local game.
Then what is wrong with the Citizens? Why does a team that has both high-quality foreign and Bafana internationals find themselves drifting in mid-table 10th place?
Is it the lack of spectators that render a soulless atmosphere in the stadiums?
Surely, that can’t be the answer for the listless displays that City are prone to producing as it's the same for all the teams to endure. Furthermore, they should in fact be glad the seats are empty for they would be heckled from the terraces for the basic errors they are committing.
But yet somehow they climb back into the hearts of their supporters through sheer moments of brilliance, particularly against the bigger teams. Whether it’s their fluid passing game, counter-attacking threat or the high press executed to perfection, City do have a way of flicking a switch to turn on the magic.
Tinkler hopes that the lights just stay on a little bit longer next time though, especially with Kaizer Chiefs looming large this Saturday at FNB Stadium.
“We’re starting to prepare now for the game against an in-form Kaizer Chiefs, who have had some positive results of late. A game against them as a coach I don’t need to motivate my players. My players should be motivated knowing they are playing against such a high-profile club as Kaizer Chiefs,” Tinkler told Independent Media.
“We come off the disappointment of the draw against TS Galaxy. I was disappointed how we conceded the goals and that’s what we need to improve. We need to go to Chiefs organised and structurally sound.”
Tinkler’s mandate upon returning to City towards the end of last season was certainly to improve the team’s defensive structure. Former coach Jan Olde Riekerink had the team moving forward splendidly, but the goals were flowing in at the back more freely than drinks during happy hour.
There was a positive change at the beginning of the season, but the old habits have returned and Tinkler has warned his charges they cannot afford an off day at Soccer City when the opposition possess attacking threats such as Khama Billiat and Keagan Dolly among others.
“We have managed to keep clean sheets against the best team in the league, Mamelodi Sundowns, and now consistency becomes key, especially now when you going into a game against Chiefs where they have plenty of firepower upfront in Billiat, Dolley, Lebogang Manyama and Bernard Parker,” Tinkler said.
“Defensively we need to be very well structured and organised, but we need to go there with no fear and a lot of belief in ourselves. We are a team that likes to play attractive football and we would like to continue doing that, but sometimes we have to play ugly football to collect maximum points. And that’s the lesson this week for the players to understand the importance of improving defensively and not leak the amount of goals that we have been leaking.”