SOCCER

Cape Town City looking to Mount A serious Charge Of The Psl Tittle


 

Cape Town City’s remarkable debut season in the PSL continues when they host Highlands Park at the Cape Town Stadium on Tuesday night (7.30pm kickoff). Currently in third position on the league standings, some pundits already feels that a charge for the title is within their reach.

But experienced central defender Robyn Johannes is not about to be lured into any delusions of grandeur. Many an arrogant side has been cruelly brought down to earth by the fickle, unpredictable nature of the sport of football. As such, City aren’t looking too far ahead.

“Look, we can’t say that we aren’t thinking about the title,” said Johannes. “It’s there, we are in third position. As it stands, we are in the race. We’ve done fantastically well in the first six months of the season, but it’s going to be much tougher now. Teams now have an idea of how we play and they will be more prepared. So it’s a huge challenge for us, as we move into the second half of the season.

“For us, though, rather than focus on the title, we are only concerned about the next game. That remains our focus it’s how good teams across the world operate – they take things game by game, collect the points and then see where it ends. That is our approach and all we are focusing on right now is Tuesday’s game against Highlands.

Johannes, now 30-years-old, is, believe it or not, in his first spell with a Cape PSL club. Even though he is from Strandfontein, and played his junior football at teams like Parkhurst, Standfontein, Hellenic and Rygersdal, it was when he took himself off to the youth academy at Pretoria University that he got his big break.

He was subsequently signed by PSL giants Mamelodi Sundowns and went on to enjoy stints at Orlando Pirates, Golden Arrows, Maritzburg United and AmaZulu before returning home to sign for City.

Johannes has had a great season so far, anchoring the centre of defence alongside Tshepo Gumede. Both players, though, will have to ensure they remain consistent this year because waiting patiently in the wings is 21-year-old Ghanaian defender Joseph Adjei.

The Ghanaian got some game time when Johannes was injured and when Gumede was suspended, and he never disappointed. He looks a real talent – and he’s certainly stringent competition for the incumbent central defenders.

In addition to City’s lofty log position, they also won the Telkom Knockout Cup last year. So they definitely won’t be lacking in confidence and self-belief. But, as for Highlands on Tuesday, the Capetonians know how important the fixture is; it’s something head coach Eric Tinkler has been emphasising throughout the last few weeks of preparation.

“Highlands will be a difficult game,” said Johannes. “They’re a good team with experienced players, and they have a highly-experienced coach too (former Bafana Bafana mentor Gordon Igesund). For us, it’s important to start well, we have to get the three points. It’s our home game and we just have to go out there and win it.

“Yes, we did well in the first half of the season, but we have to put that behind us. This is (a) different challenge, and I think the key factor is that we just have to make sure that we maintain the team spirit that has carried us through so far.

“The togetherness at the club is simply fantastic. We are like a little family It’s that attitude and approach that have been important to our success – and it’s important that we keep building on it, and keep that facet of our game strong.”


 

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