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Cape Town City PSL Season Preview 2020/21

Cape Town PSL Season Preview 2020/21 – Can Jan Olde Riekerink’s side challenge for the DSTV Premiership title this coming season?

Orlando Pirates PSL Betting Preview

Before last season, Cape Town City’s owner, John Comitis said: “By signing him (Mobara), we can win the league because we have done everything and talked enough. Now is the time to act”. Things didn’t pan out that way and the side looked headed for a relegation battle at one stage. Can Jan Olde Riekerink’s side challenge for the DSTV Premiership title this coming season?


Aside from getting Aubrey Ngoma back on loan from Sundowns in the Erasmus deal, City have added winger, Charles Zulu from Zanaco FC and left-back, Terrence Mashego from TS Galaxy. The latter had a year left on his deal and is fine fullback but is not likely to displace Edmilson Dove. Ngoma, after a torrid couple of years in the stands at Chloorkop, will be hoping to hit the incredible heights he enjoyed in City’s debut season.

However, there are concerns over his fitness and conditioning and also where he will play with Surprise Ralani clocking up 11 PSL assists last season from the left-wing. Neither player is as effective in other positions. Aside from Erasmus, Roland Putsche was a departure during the lockdown and despite his injury issues, he was a brilliant midfielder on his day and will be missed. He is another who needs to be replaced.

From Benni to Riekerink

After a poor start to last season with just eight points from their opening nine games, Benni McCarthy was fired. Though his side had faced all of the top sides right off the bat. It was losses to struggling teams in AmaZulu and Maritzburg United which saw the axe fall.

In came Dutch coach, Jan Olde Riekerink. By all accounts, an abrasive personality with his players, and there was not much initial improvement. In his first game in charge, City lost 2-1 to Black Leopards and they failed to win any of his first five matches at the helm, scoring once. Thankfully a 5-3 win under caretaker, Vasili Manousakis prior to the Dutchman taking the reins had given at least some points as a buffer.

Going into the final eight matches, City were just four points above the relegation zone but had an incredible end to the campaign, winning six of their final eight matches. A big reason for the turnaround was the return of Abbubaker Mobara alongside Taariq Fielies at centre back. The pairing were immense in a very open and exposed system without much midfield protection. The win against Sundowns showed City at their technical best, whilst a victory with ten men against Pirates was just as impressive, in a different way.

Cape Town City Squad Depth

*Realistic options to play regularly – excludes fringe players
*Accurate up to 20 October

City’s squad looks miles from being finalised with the season about to start. After Erasmus and Siphelele Mthembu left, the only real striker options are Fagrie Lakay and Tashreeq Morris. At number ten, Shane Roberts is the only specialist in that role with Mpho Makola in reserve. In total, there are probably only a few reliable attackers in Ralani, Martin and Lakay. Roberts is still fairly inexperienced and doubts over how Ngoma will perform. Before the window shuts, expect at least one, if not two forwards to arrive.

In midfield, the situation is a bit better with five options for two positions but only Thato Mokeke is anything resembling a defensive midfielder. With a vast space between their backline and engine room, there are huge demands placed on the centre backs to step out and engage between the lines. This leaves a lot of space and requires plenty of last-gasp defending. Without doubt, left-back is the strongest area of the squad with a quality backup in Mashego but you can’t say that about any other position. In general, the age of the squad is good but Ralani (33), Mkhize (32) and Makola (34) could all only have another one or two top-level seasons left in them.


It’s very hard to see City getting anywhere near a title challenge and one or two injuries could put the side closer to eighth than first spot. Peter Leeuwenburgh, Taariq Fielies, Thabo Nodada, Surprise Ralani and Fagrie Lakay are going to need to be wrapped in cotton wool as they are pivotal to this side. Without greater depth, City are going to be short this season and unless they push the boat out to sign a reliable, proven PSL goalscorer (say, Bongi Ntuli or Knox Mutizwa, despite their differences to Erasmus stylistically).

City still needs to show that they can beat teams who sit off them like Stellenbosch did with a 5-3-2 shape in a 1-0 win. It will be very interesting to see how Riekerink gets on this term as he got the players singing off his hymn sheet in the bio-bubble. But will his management style work if results are poor at the start of the season? He could be an outside bet to be one of the first coaches out of the door.


Best Possible Finish: THIRD

Worst Possible Finish: SEVENTH

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