CAPE TOWN – Looking at their opponents in the run-in to the end of season, Cape Town City have an outside chance of leap-frogging the three sides above them and winning a maiden Premier League title.
The fourth-placed Citizen’s final six fixtures, four of them away, are against sides below them in the standings bar one, second-placed Orlando Pirates.
City’s only defeat in matches against their six remaining opponents was against league rookies Highlands Park.
City picked up wins against Bloemfontein Celtic and Black Leopards and drew with Golden Arrows (who they play away on Saturday), Chippa United and Pirates in the other five.
So there is a chance for a shot at the silverware currently in the possession of Mamelodi Sundowns.
The Brazilians currently enjoy top spot on 44 points and hold a three-point lead over the Buccaneers and former pacesetters Wits, with City one behind them.
It’s how City coach Benni McCarthy’s boys shape away from the comforts of home that will ultimately decide their fate.
Of the 11 games played so far outside Cape Town, City won four of them to go with three draws and four losses.
That has to read a lot better when the final sums are tallied.
One positive is no other team has scored more than their tally of 39.
The downer is they’ve conceded 30 goals – last-placed Maritzburg United have conceded one less.
So it will be a big worry for McCarthy, and has been for most of the season.
Another negative has been City’s performances against the lower-placed teams.
In their previous league game at the Cape Town Stadium they had most of the possession and still could not see off Polokwane City in a game that ended goalless.
The same scenario played out in home draws with Baroka FC and Chippa United and at AmaZulu (lost 1-0). Seven squandered points may come back to bite the MTN 8 champions.
Losing the services of in-form first-choice midfielders Roland Putche and Thabo Nodado in February to injury was a big blow for McCarthy. But the coach soldiered on and all he can do now is tell his charges their destiny is in their own hands.
It’s up to them now to step up to the plate and perform to the level that produced recent wins against Sundowns and Wits.
Those two come-from-behind victories were earned through sheer guts and determination and the will to win, ingredients that were missing four days ago during the 2-0 away Cup defeat to Kaizer Chiefs.
Also absent was the desire to perform in front of a packed stadium. It left South Africa’s leading goal scorer baffled.
He can’t play for them, all he can do is impart his wealth of knowledge, believe in them, encourage and hope they play the way he knows they can.
If they do, glory can be had.
A win against Arrows will be a step in the right direction.
Mike de Bruyn
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