City coach Riekerink urges players to seize their chance in cup

Johannes Olde Riekerink looks on during a match at Cape Town Stadium.
Johannes Olde Riekerink looks on during a match at Cape Town Stadium.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Cape Town City coach Jan Olde Riekerink has urged his players to seize their chance as they enter the Nedbank Cup Last 32 with a tricky away tie at GladAfrica Championship Mbombela United on Sunday.

City have reached a final in each of their three previous seasons since their formation in 2016‚ but the Nedbank Cup represents their final chance in the current campaign.

But as well as glory for the club‚ Dutch coach Olde Riekerink‚ who won the Turkish Cup with Galatasaray in 2016‚ says his players can write their names into South African football history.

“I tell my players at the end of their career‚ one of the biggest things you can take with you is the prizes [trophies] you win‚” Olde Riekerink said.

“The biggest issue is that they can leave something behind for after their career. You play to win cups and championships.

“This has nothing to do with history‚ it is all about the present. If you enter a cup you do so to win it. That is what the biggest aim is of joining a competition. We want to win this cup.”

City will definitely be without injured forward Kermit Erasmus‚ as well as goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh‚ who is a specialist at saving penalties‚ but has not recovered from a blow to the face in Friday’s 1-1 draw at Maritzburg United.

“Kermit will be a longer-term injury‚ hopefully not more than a month‚ but it might take a little bit longer. Peter will also not be ready‚ because he got a kick to head and he has not recovered fully yet. So Sage [Stephens] will play‚” Olde Riekerink said.

“We have some small injuries‚ so that could be a reason not to let some players play‚ but we will play with the best team that can go onto the pitch.

“Beside the injuries‚ we have quality not only in the 11 players [that start]‚ I am very happy with the whole selection we have.”

Riekerink says they have managed to gather some videos on Mbombela‚ so they will not be a closed book‚ but admits it will be more about what his side does than the opposition.

“We have information on the team from their last games‚ videos of the matches‚ but in this game we know we are favourites and we are supposed to win. It will always be not an easy game though and they will be highly motivated.

“I suspect we will have a lot of time on the ball‚ I expect us to be dominant‚ so it is how we can achieve to go to the next round and that is by scoring goals.

“I focus more on my team than the opponent because I know they will be highly motivated and play on the counter-attack. These are different {types] of games. The opponent is important‚ we will have big respect‚ but we will focus mostly on our own game.”