JOHANNESBURG – Kermit Erasmus was Cape Town City’s best player in their goalless draw with Highlands Park at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, and he was only the field for 18 minutes before being taken off with a recurring hamstring strain.
The striker with seven goals to his name this season is likely to miss City’s next game against fellow PSL strugglers Chippa United at Athlone Stadium this Saturday.
That would be a huge blow for 11th-placed City who lost the plot once Erasmus departed on Saturday. They were in the game for the first 15 minutes, mainly due to the danger Erasmus posed in the Highlands half. The Bafana Bafana forward cut Highland’s defence to ribbons with his pace and movement and twice created clear-cut scoring chances that wing Riyaad Norodien and midfielder Thabo Nodada failed to put away. He then left the scene and the bite went out of City as they handed the initiative to their opponents for the remainder of the half bar the last 15 minutes that saw the home team pressing hard, but once again lacking the killer instinct in front of goal.
Fagrie Lakay replaced Erasmus and in the second half had the small crowd on their feet as he threatened in the final third, but the midfielder wasn’t able to make his presence felt when it mattered most. Norodien and Thato Mokeke had their moments to break the deadlock, as did captain Thami Mkhize, but in the final analysis, City are a team that has lost the art of winning for some reason.
The sacking of former coach Benni McCarthy after winning two of 18 games has since produced one win, two draws and a defeat. New Dutch coach Jan Olde Riekerink has been in the dugout for two games and is yet to win. But he feels there is plenty of talent at his disposal to mould City into a fine-tuned machine.
“The conclusion from this game with Highlands is that there’s a team on the pitch, and the team also is fighting for each other until the last moments that we didn’t concede any goals. But football is not only getting goals against but also creating,” said Olde Riekerink. “I believe in the quality of the players. I think we have good players, I can see that every day in the training, they work hard, but playing together there is also some basics that we sometimes forget.”