CT City coach Riekerink ‘surprised’ by quality of Absa Premiership

Jan Olde Riekerink and Mpho Makola

Hartleyvale – Cape Town City FC head coach Jan Olde Riekerink admits he’s been surprised by the quality of football played in the Absa Premiership since his arrival.

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The Dutchman replaced Benni McCarthy at the Citizens in November last year and has since taken charge of seven league matches.

The 56-year-old said at the club’s media day on Wednesday that he’s loved every minute of his journey thus far, despite the challenges that come with the job.

“I must say that I’m surprised. There’s a lot of strength (in the league). A lot of times we played teams that had good strikers. And the good strikers were also able to score (against us),” said the City coach as he addressed the media at the club’s training base at Hartleyvale.

“Sometimes the conditions can change… the heat, the humidity, the air in Johannesburg and the pitches can change game by game (playing at different venues).”

He continued: “I love to coach in this competition and if I look at my squad, we have different qualities, but I think we should use them more.

“You (media) saw the training, what qualities we have, if that comes out in the game, we can add something different to the way we play.”

City are back in action on Saturday against title hopefuls Bidvest Wits at the Cape Town Stadium.

Wits are in the midst of a tough fixture run, having to play four matches in 10 days due to their commitments in the CAF Confederations Cup.

Gavin Hunt’s charges are also set for midweek action on Wednesday against Bloemfontein Celtic before travelling to the Mother City.

Riekerink is hoping that his charges can use Wits’ fixture congestion to their advantage as City’s last match was on Sunday – a 3-0 defeat against log leaders Kaizer Chiefs.

In his seven matches in charge, Riekerink’s record stands at 1 win, 3 defeats and 3 draws.

With just 12 (of 30) matches left in their Premiership campaign, City are currently 13th in the log standings – one point above the dreaded relegation zone – after 3 wins, 8 draws and 7 defeats.

A victory against Wits could steer the Cape side in the right direction.

“I know that Wits have to play four games in 10 days and that (match against CT City) will be the fourth,” Riekerink said.

“The moment we meet them they will still have some games (in hand). I know they could also be competing for the first position. So, they have a good team.”

Kick-off on Saturday is at 18:00.

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