Cape Town City head coach Eric Tinkler has given his assessment of the club’s pre-season so far.
City returned to training at the start of July, and began to announce their new signings in their second week.
Tinkler is pleased with how things started and the new signings brought into the squad.
“Ja, so we obviously restarted preseason on the fifth of July and brought all the players in and done medicals with them, fitness assessments to see where they were in terms of their fitness levels, although they had a fairly short short break, only four weeks off-season for them, but, you know, we brought them in, we done the assessments,” Tinkler said via the club’s media department.
“Second week, we started to load them quite extensively. Also, a few new signings obviously arrived for the new year, (Nathan Idumba) Fasika, a centre-back very, very tall centre-back. But technically gifted, good speed aerial ability, has obviously strengthened our defensive area.
“We then signed also Patrick Fisher, right wing back, young, right back but with so much potential, had a very, very good season, playing for Cape Town Spurs last year in the NFD, but a fantastic player for the future. So we obviously very, very happy with the signing of him. And like I said, these were players that obviously joined us in week two.
With Fagrie Lakay and Abbubaker Mobara withdrawn from the Olympic-bound squad, the duo returned to the club and Tinkler was pleased to have a full compliment of players before the club headed on a short pre-season camp to Limpopo.
“In week three Fagrie Lakay joined us back from the Olympic team, Mobara joined us back also from the Olympic team,” Tinkler said.
“So we started to get majority of the squad back just in time for us to go on a camp, team building camp, that’s what the purpose of it was, team building, focus on game model, focus on the club culture, club objectives for the upcoming season, and bonding.
“And also during that bonding, looked to play three friendlies, which we did, we played Venda Academy, we played Marumo Gallants, and we ended up playing Mamelodi Sundowns. And I was very, very happy with the whole trip. I was very happy with what we focused on during the trip. I felt we achieve those objectives. And I felt that you know, we moving in the right direction.
“We obviously also during that camp signed Khanyisa Mayo. So we’ve bolstered wing positions, so he can either play on the right or he can play on the left. So he obviously strengthens that area for us as well. Another young player, I think that’s what we’ve also been looking to do, is bring in some young, talented players for the future.
“A lot of people are saying that we are an aging team, but I think we are healthy aging team. When I look at Ralani and I look at Mpho Makola and I look at Thato Mokeke. All of these guys are extremely fit, they top of the charts, actually, when I look at their fitness levels compared to the rest, they set the example so you know, good players to have in your squad and for the youngsters to learn from.”
Tinkler says from this point forward they’ll be looking to up the tempo and play a few friendlies before their opening game of the season, their MTN8 quarter-final match against Benni McCarthy’s AmaZulu scheduled for the weekend of the 14th of August.
“But now we moved into week four where we want to up the tempo,” Tinkler continued.
“We still going to be playing a number of friendlies from now until that first game against AmaZulu, in order to prepare ourselves to the maximum.
“We want to start off on a positive note and in order to achieve that we’ve got to be working extremely hard right now. And yes, the sessions have been hard. The sessions have been tough. It’s been long days. But that’s the life of a professional footballer. Many people out there wish they could live the lives of what some of these boys live.”
It has also since been confirmed that Zambian international Justin Shonga has exited the club. While Shonga did return to the club after the Cosafa Cup, the former Orlando Pirates forward leaves City after a disappointing stay where he failed to score a goal for the club in 12 league appearances.