How Cape Town City took full advantage of life in the new normal: 'This bubble has given me a lot of hope'
Playing in the bio-bubble may have challenged the mental strength of most clubs in the league but this has certainly not been the case for Cape Town City.
Life inside the Premier Soccer League's (PSL) bio-secure environment has tested many players‚ coaches‚ match officials and other personnel as they tried to adapt to extended time away from their families and friends‚ and playing in front of empty stands.
The results on the pitch have been erratic even for title-chasing sides like Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns‚ perfectly reflecting the turbulence of a world still trying to come to terms with the unpredictable devastation of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cape Town side‚ on the other hand‚ have quickly acquainted themselves superbly with this new reality and they have managed to discover a rich vein of form that is the envy of their rivals.
It is a complete reversal to the challenges the club endured in the weeks before the season was suspended due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in March.
City utility player Abbubaker Mobara admitted that “the bubble has been amazing” for coach Jan Olde Riekerink's charges as they are the in-form side in the league at the moment after the five matches they've played since the season resumed in August.
“The bubble has also given us time to work with each other‚” Mobara said.
“This bubble has given me a lot of hope and also with his (Taariq Fellies‚ his partner in the midfield) experience‚ it has made things a whole lot easier for me.
“Also Fellies is a top player. Sometimes we have to accept his brilliance and also compliment his brilliance and add my little value to help him.
“This bubble has brought a lot of individual brilliance out of a lot of people‚ a lot of players in our team. Also the fact that we’re in this bubble for one deed‚ we just want to execute the deed and go home with a smile.”
City have managed four victories (Chippa United 1-0‚ Mamelodi Sundowns 3-2‚ Orlando Pirates 1-0 and Golden Arrows 1-0) with their defeat to neighbours Stellenbosch FC (1-0) the only blot on their copy book
This run of form has taken The Citizens to the seventh place on the Absa Premiership standings with two matches to go this season.
The smiles in the change room could continue as The Citizens meet troubled Highlands Park at the Dobsonville Stadium in the penultimate league fixture on Wednesday night.
The Highlands players are still in shock after finding out that their futures are uncertain following revelations that the team could be sold at the end of the season.
Another victory in Dobsonville on Wednesday would cement City’s place in the top eight ahead of their last fixture against SuperSport United at Loftus on Saturday.
“We have a difficult game‚ different to all the teams in the PSL‚” Mobara said of 9th-placed Highlands.
"But we have a duty to perform and we have the information from the coach of what we need to do.
“We just have to execute what he needs us to be executed so we can get the three points and stay in the top eight.”