Wednesday, June 12, 2024
HomeDStv PremiershipTinkler Sad To Lose Marques

Tinkler Sad To Lose Marques

Cape Town City head coach Eric Tinkler has confirmed that the club parted ways with goalkeeper Hugo Marques on amicable terms after the player requested to be released for personal reasons.

Marques’ departure from City was almost as surprising as his arrival. 

The Angolan international goalkeeper arrived in South Africa 368 days ago, as an emergency signing after Darren Keet had been ruled out for the 2021/2022 campaign. 

Keet himself had only signed two months earlier and was expected to be the heir apparent to the position held by Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh for three seasons. 

With Leeuwenburgh heading back to the Ere-Divisie to play for FC Groningen, Keet looked the perfect man to wear the number one jersey.

The Bafana Bafana international was back in his hometown after the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown scuppered a move to the USA. Instead, he had a brief spell with former coach Roger De Sa at the now defunct Cape Umoya United, before signing on the dotted line with City.

But his injury threw a spanner in the works, and City sent out an SOS looking for an experienced keeper.

Enter Marques. The 36-year-old had spent most of his career in Portugal, starting in the Porto academy, before an 18-year career at clubs including Gil Vicente, a few other Portuguese clubs, a few years in Angola, and finally at Farense before coming to the Mother City.

The amiable shot-stopper made an immediate impact. Charming, funny, and friendly, Marques was just the tonic for City, and his professionalism rubbed off on all at the club immediately.

His performances on the pitch were also excellent, and while he had initially been brought in because of Keet’s injury, it was soon clear that even when the South African returned, Marques wasn’t going to relinquish his spot. It was no surprise when City extended his one-year deal, nor was it surprising when Marques was voted as the PSL Goalkeeper of the Season, as he proved to be one of the most consistent goalies in the league, and had the most clean-sheets (14).

Last season he featured in 34 games in all competitions, missing just one match when his return from international duty was delayed, and Keet was fit again. However, he was back in the starting line-up the following game and for the remainder of the campaign.

Marques started City’s first three matches of this season, conceding seven goals as City suffered three consecutive defeats. It wasn’t the best start for the goalkeeper, but while he wasn’t at his best, he also made some good saves in those matches.

Marques’ sudden departure meant that Darren Keet started the game in the goalless draw against Maritzburg on Tuesday.

Tinkler confirmed on Tuesday that Marques has left the club for personal reasons, and while he understood, it was sad to hear that he won’t see out his contract and be part of City’s CAF Champions League debut, having played a key role in helping them qualify for continental football.

“Then Hugo, ja obviously, very, very sad for me that that he’s left because obviously, I brought him here and he had an absolutely fantastic season for us,” Tinkler said at the post-match press conference after their goalless draw against Maritzburg United on Tuesday. 

“And everybody fell in love with him from the first minute that he arrived in the country, and great leadership, both on and off the field, his camaraderie with the team was always high. 

“So to lose him is a tough situation. But, he came to me spoke to me, he gave me his reasons and I clearly understood, why he needed to go back home. So, we didn’t want to stand in his way. 

“And he was dead-set to not come back. We wanted him to go and spend some time with the family and give him maybe a week or two, and then make a decision then but he was adamant that he wasn’t coming back.”

Rob Delport
Rob Delport
Rob Delport is a walking football encyclopedia, having been a mainstay in the Cape Town football scene for years. Rob has previously worked for SABC and various websites and publications across Africa, as well as being the South African Head Researcher for Football Manager and doing a similar role occasionally for EA Sports FIFA. Highly respected, Rob is now a senior iDiski Times website and newspaper writer, and is also responsible for the newspaper's editorial.