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Riekerink fires warning shot at top 8 contenders

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Johannes Olde Riekerink, head coach of Cape Town City.
Johannes Olde Riekerink, head coach of Cape Town City.
Image: © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

As their last three games are against fellow top-eight hopefuls in Golden Arrows, Highlands Park and SuperSport United respectively, Cape Town City coach Jan  Riekerink has stressed the importance of beating these teams to maintain their slot in the top eight.

Beating Orlando Pirates 1-0 via a Kermit Erasmus solitary strike on Sunday saw City leapfrog Highlands to position seven on the standings, with 36 points, one ahead of the Lions of the North. The Capetonians overcame the Sea Robbers despite being 10-man down after Mpho Makola was red-carded in the first half.

Insisting their objective is to remain in the top eight until the conclusion of the season, Riekerink knows the significance of winning against direct foes for the top-eight berths if they are to hold onto their seventh spot.

“To be honest, for me as a coach, the beautiful thing is to go for the highest goal… of course we want to be among the first eight teams at the end of the season. We are still not there, there are a lot of teams close to each other [on the log],’’ said Riekerink after their win versus Pirates.

“[Their next game is against Arrows at Ellis Park Stadium on Saturday]… We have Highlands and we finish with SuperSport. Those are direct rivals for those positions. So, I think it’s our job to show them that we want to finish in the top eight, that’s our goal.’’

For their gusty display against  Bucs, Riekerink praised their mental strength and players’ selflessness on the pitch.

“Individuals can’t win the games, only the group can win the game. We played as a team and it worked for us.’’

“Today (on Sunday) the minds [of the players] were stronger than their bodies,’’ noted Riekerink.

The Citizens’ winning goal against Pirates was Erasmus’ 12th in the league this terms, making this season his highest-scoring of his career. The 30-years-old City marksman is now two goals behind joint top-scorers in Pirates’ Gabadinho Mhango and Peter Shalulile of Highlands.

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