Mother City loses spark of football

Boebie Solomons
Boebie Solomons

The once proud football city of Cape Town has suffered a massive decline in the sport in recent years, with only one club in the Absa Premiership.

Cape Town City are now the only Mother City representative in the top flight after the relegation of Ajax Cape Town. The city has a rich history of football, producing a horde of national players over the years.

Since the inception of the PSL two decades ago, the city has had teams like Hellenic, Cape Town Spurs (changed to Ajax after merger with Seven Stars), Santos and Chippa United. It was a disagreement with the establishment in the city that resulted in Chippa relocating to Port Elizabeth two years ago. The relegation of Ajax is like a case of deja vu as many of the Cape clubs that went down never came back .

Hellenic and Santos never returned to their top division following their relegation in 2004 and 2012 respectively.

Former Santos coach Boebie Solomons feels the loss of players to bigger clubs outside Cape Town has come back to haunt Cape football and its clubs.

"All the players that are developed here end up leaving for more money elsewhere," Solomons said.

"What happens is that the better players leave for the big clubs to make more money.

"Our players are filtered out and the clubs suffer for that. Right now they can't attract the top players. We got away with it for many years but you cannot get away with it all the time."

Former Spurs striker Shaun Bartlett said: "The biggest issue is the participation at youth level, it is not great anymore. We had many great players in the past. There has been some element of politics that has affected the game. Clubs are withdrawing from competition and players are no longer interested in the sport."