Pirates offer first test of City's new-look strike force

Riekerink looks to Lakay and Morris for goals

Cape Town City Jan Riekerink
Cape Town City Jan Riekerink
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Cape Town City coach Jan Riekerink has described the departure of Kermit Erasmus to Mamelodi Sundowns as a big blow to his side.

The veteran Dutch tactician says the deadly forward will be sorely missed as he called on other players to step up.

Riekerink will look to forwards Fagrie Lakay, 23, and Tashreeq Morris, 26, to take over the goalscoring responsibilities.

The Citizens announced the permanent signing of Lakay on a three-year contract and all eyes will be on the former Bidvest Wits striker to see what he can do for them in the final third of the field.

Speaking ahead of the Citizens’ MTN8 quarterfinal encounter against Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday (6pm), Riekerink said he is pinning his hopes on Lakay and Morris.

The Dutch mentor said he gave Erasmus his blessings to leave the club. “Kermit wanted to go to a club where he will be able to fight for the championship and we did not stop him from chasing his dreams. The time for him to go to a club that can guarantee him trophies had come,” said Riekerink.

At the weekend, the flying Dutchman will get a closer look at what Erasmus’s replacements are capable of. The Citizens were one of the best-performing teams in the bubble, defeating league champions Sundowns and Pirates.

But Riekerink says Saturday’s match with Pirates is a different ball game. “It was different in the bubble as we held out for a win with a man down. But it is going to be different in Soweto on Saturday. Pirates are a different team now and signed lots of players,” he said.

The coach is also hoping that his 25-year-old midfielder, Thabo Nodada, will carry the team on his tiny shoulders next season. Riekerink, who was given the job in November last year, said his mandate is to help them to finish in the top eight.

“The target is top eight and anything else is a bonus. But we have the element to surprise a lot of teams next season. Nodada and new signing Aubrey Ngoma will be big players for us. We have not lost many players from last season and we believe in ourselves.” he added.

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