Until their unfortunate capitulation against SuperSport United at the Atteridgeville Stadium this week, Cape Town City looked a good bet to upset the bookies and perhaps even walk away with the Absa Premiership.
They have been the most enterprising outfit, playing the most delightful brand of attacking football and bringing back memories of the halcyon days of the National Football League when the old Cape Town City ruled the roost at Hartleyvale Stadium.
“Look, I analyse where we come from when I purchased this team and I am completely blown away,” says chairman John Comitis. “When I bought the club, I identified a core of players that we thought if they remained, we would build something really fantastic.
“When the league started, we knew it would be realistic to target at least position eight. But they got off the blocks like a house on fire and have achieved beyond my expectations.”
The Citizens have not only taken local football by storm and in the process thrashed Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, but have also won the MTN 8 Cup in their maiden season.
“What makes them tick … I think you got to be upfront and honest,” says Comitis. “Assemble a squad that is not too big, but enough personnel where players feel, even if they are out, they would be back in, and in this way they all feel they are participating and contributing.”
Comitis praised coach Eric Tinkler as a leader and father figure he described as “dead honest, hard-working and someone who leads by example”.
“There are basically no cracks in the team and the unity within the team has been phenomenal,” said Comitis.
“This team goes out and plays entertaining football. They have been doing it since day one. They have the energy and, for me, it has been an unbelievable roller-coaster ride.
“But I do know that we are building from the bottom up, together with the support we are getting from Cape Town. The odds have been against us, but we’ve done it.”
On the pitch there’s no doubting that the players are superb. Goalkeeper Shu-aib Walters is flanked by two hardworking fullbacks in Vincent Kobola and Ebrahim Seedat — and, of course, the solid, immovable central defensive partnership of Tshepo Gumede and Robyn Johannes.
Add to that the speedy Bhongo-lethu Jayiya, Lehlohonolo Majoro, the creative Aubrey Ngoma and the most sought-after player of the moment in the form of the classy Lebogang Manyama, and you have a complete team.