'We have achieved something that no-one would have expected‚ not even myself to be honest,' says City coach Tinkler
Eric Tinkler has admitted a tinge of regret that his Cape Town City side could not pull off what would have been a remarkable Absa Premiership title victory in the maiden season of the newly-formed team.
But the City coach is looking forward to new adventures after the club secured CAF club football for 2018.
Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Lamontville Golden Arrows ensured third place at least and qualification for the African Confederation Cup‚ but Tinkler also has overhauling ailing Mamelodi Sundowns in his sights on the final day of the campaign on May 27.
City would have to finish second ahead of Sundowns if they are to enter the potentially lucrative African Champions League competition.
But before thinking of that‚ Tinkler has had to reconcile the fact that his team fell short in their unexpected title charge after losing or drawing games they dominated and should have won.
“We sit back and look now and say‚ had we got the three points against them [Wits in a 1-1 home draw]‚ had we not had lost [2-1 at home] to Baroka‚ then we could possibly have been talking now a different story and taking it to the last game of the season and it being between them and us‚” Tinkler says.
“That’s the disappointing side‚ but I still go home with a big smile on my face to have a nice glass of red wine.
"That’s because I know that we have achieved something that no-one would have expected‚ not even myself to be honest.
“In the back of your mind you are thinking‚ maybe we can win a cup and finish in the top eight. But winning the league or finishing top three … that wasn’t in the thought process to be honest.”
City’s inferior goal-difference over Sundowns means they need to get a win at Polokwane City in their final league match and hope The Brazilians don’t get more than a point at a desperate Highlands Park‚ who are seeking to avoid the drop.
“We go into the game with the chance of finishing second‚ but it’s definitely going to be as tough match. Polokwane have had a fantastic season and have nothing to lose.
"They have also guaranteed themselves a top-eight berth.
“I have been watching a lot of their games and even with the coach [Luc Eymael] leaving‚ they are still playing very good‚ very attractive football. [Jabu] Maluleke makes a huge difference in their squad.” - TMG Digital/TMG Sport