Cape Town City face growing relegation threat as they meet on-form Wits
Cape Town City will host Bidvest Wits in the Absa Premiership at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night with both teams desperate for the points‚ though for opposite reasons.
City have found themselves embroiled in an unexpected relegation scrap this season‚ having won only three of their 18 games to date‚ while Wits are still very much in contention for the league title and now possibly Kaizer Chiefs’ most serious challengers.
Wits have three games in hand over the runaway leaders‚ and if they win them‚ will move to within just two points for the AmaKhosi – though as Gavin Hunt will be quick to point out‚ points in the bag are far more valuable than games in hand.
Thirteenth-placed City’s struggles this season have been hard to fathom and the expected boost from the arrival of Dutch coach Jan Olde Riekerink has failed to materialise.
After beating Baroka FC‚ they threw away a two-goal lead to draw at home to AmaZulu‚ before being soundly beaten by Chiefs last weekend.
There is a saying in football that ‘so and so club is too good to go down’‚ but history is also littered with instances where this has proven false and City need to start picking up points fast.
“I know that Wits have to play four games in 10 days and this will be the fourth. I know they are quote a few games behind‚ but if they win them they can be competing for the title‚ so they have a good team‚” Olde Riekerink said‚ adding there is nothing wrong with the quality of his players‚ nor their current mood.
“It is good you [the media] are watching the training … I can always say‚ ‘Oh‚ we trained good‚ we have spirit in the team and we have quality’‚ but if you watch training you can see that it is true.
“Most important is that I believe in my group‚ I believe we will come out and have the results.”
Olde Riekerink admitted he had been pleasantly surprised with the all-round quality of teams in the Premier Soccer League. He said adapting to the always changing conditions around the country has been tough‚ unlike in his native Netherlands where little differs from ground to ground.
“I was surprised in the way there is a lot of strength. We have played against teams with very good strikers‚” he said.
“The conditions change – heat‚ humidity‚ the altitude of Johannesburg and the pitches‚ they change game-by-game.
“But I love to coach in this competition‚ my squad has different qualities and we should use them more. If that comes out in the game‚ we can add something different as a team.”