Cape Town City cannot wait to tap into Olde Riekerink's brain
Cape Town City assistant Vasili Manousakis says the club’s technical team and players cannot wait to start working with new head coach Jan Olde Riekerink‚ but before that face a challenging away trip to Black Leopards in the Absa Premiership on Sunday.
Olde Riekerink was unveiled by City on Wednesday as the replacement for Benni McCarthy‚ who paid the price for some poor form at the start of the season and was axed.
The Dutch national has worked at top European clubs such as Ajax Amsterdam‚ FC Porto and Galatasaray‚ and brings a wealth of experience to the Premier Soccer League.
“I learnt an incredible amount from coach Benni and you just look at the pedigree of coach Jan who has come in now. Not just me‚ but the entire technical team are going‚ ‘Shew‚ just to soak up some of that knowledge’‚” Manousakis said.
“We have got a fantastic‚ experienced coach waiting in the wings‚ licking his lips and saying‚ ‘I want to get stuck into this lot’.”
Manousakis also expressed sympathy for McCarthy‚ saying in the wake of the 5-3 victory over Polokwane City on Wednesday night‚ just the side’s second win of the Premiership season‚ that he always knew the team would turn around their form. Unfortunately for McCarthy‚ it came a game too late.
“We were always going to turn the corner. The timing is unfortunate … I would be the first one to say if we were playing poor football before‚ but we have been playing some really good football. I always knew that it [the win] would come‚” Manousakis said.
He added that the players were highly motivated to get a result in midweek‚ not least as a tribute to McCarthy‚ but also to put on a show for the new boss.
“The motivating factors were simple‚ we needed closure on the previous chapter. Some of these boys had not had the chance to say goodbye to the coach and that is the way they wanted to do it.
“At the same time‚ they wanted to show the new coach‚ ‘We are here’ and put their hand up. So it was about closing one chapter and opening a new one.”
Leopards loom large for City now as they seek back-to-back league wins for the first time since January.
“A really tough trip‚ hard to play there at 3.30pm on Sunday‚ maybe over 30 degrees [Celsius]. The new Greek boy‚ [Ioannis] Potouridis‚ he might find those conditions challenging‚” Manousakis said.
“But if you are to start building momentum‚ you have to go there believing you can get something out of the game. If you are going to go there with a defensive mindset and try to just keep them out – you can’t keep Black Leopards out for 90 minutes‚ it’s not going to happen.
“There is very little time to plan tactically‚ then you get on the bus – the upside of it is the long trip. He [Olde Riekerink] will be on the bus with us‚ so it gives us a lot of time to talk‚ to analyse the videos and to unpack things.”
Manousakis is likely to lead the team again from the bench while Olde Riekerink waits for his work permit.