New dawn looms for Western Cape football
In recent years football in the Western Cape has experienced a steep decline but the tide seems to be turning as the region is back on the rise again.
The relegation of Ajax Cape Town to the National First Division (NFD) last season and the relocation of Chippa United to Port Elizabeth three years earlier are just two examples of recent setbacks for the province.
Many moons ago there was also the demise of respected clubs Hellenic and Santos.
Cape Town City are currently the sole representative of the province in the Absa Premiership but developments in the NFD suggest change is coming soon.
Stellenbosch FC are on course to win the NFD and gain promotion to the top flight while Ajax are in line for a playoff spot.
Stellies lead the lower league with 45 points from 24 games while Ajax are third on 41 points.
In the Nedbank Cup, Benni McCarthy's Citizens and Cape Umoya United are in the quarterfinals. Umoya take on TS Galaxy at the Athlone Stadium tomorrow (7.30pm).
The coach there, Dominic Isaacs, says Cape Town needs to take back its rightful place in SA football.
"There is so much talent in Cape Town and it's unjustified that we only have one team in the Premiership," Isaacs said.
"Football is in crisis in Cape Town and the Cape Flats, where I am from. We need more clubs to give kids another option away from crime.
"If we have these clubs doing well then each can take about 50 boys off the streets."
Veteran coach Boebie Solomons felt that SA football needed a strong Western Cape.
"There is so much talent. So many players have been produced here for the national team," Solomons said.
"Players like Thulani Serero, Steven Pienaar, Rivaldo Coetzee and Nasief Morris were all developed here. The Western Cape needs at least two or three clubs in the top league.
"I am hopeful things will improve for the better."
Western Cape pro clubs:
In Absa: Premiership: Cape Town City
In NFD: Stellenbosch, Ajax, Umoya United, Ubutu Cape Town.