City’s aces have crept into the hearts of Cape Town

It has taken some ad­just­ing, but ‘foot­ball is foot­ball, wher­ever you are’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - RODNEY REINERS

CAPE TOWN CITY as a club have come in for much praise and ad­mi­ra­tion. Noth­ing wrong with that, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing they are just four months into their ex­is­tence and have al­ready man­aged to cap­ture a great deal of at­ten­tion and re­spect.

But spare a thought for the squad, who have ex­celled un­der dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances, es­pe­cially with re­gard to re­lo­ca­tion.

City were es­tab­lished af­ter John Comi­tis bought the PSL fran­chise of Mpumalanga Black Aces and re­lo­cated the club to the Mother City. The sit­u­a­tion de­manded that last sea­son’s Black Aces squad had to up­root their lives and move down to Cape Town.

Make no mis­take, many of them weren’t too keen. So much so that those play­ers whose con­tracts were due to ex­pire – like lead­ing scorer Collins Mbe­suma – re­fused ex­ten­sions to their deals and de­cided to rather link up with other Gaut­eng clubs.

For the rest of the play­ers, those now con­tracted to new club City, Comi­tis knew it would be a hard sell.

“The main con­cern of the play­ers from Black Aces was the ad­di­tional costs they would in­cur in re­lo­cat­ing to the Cape, es­pe­cially with re­spect to ac­com­mo­da­tion and travel,” Comi­tis said. “But I had meet­ings with the squad and promised to cover ev­ery­thing.

“I knew that, in bring­ing them down to the Cape, I had to be mind­ful of their hos­pi­tal­ity and in mak­ing their re­lo­ca­tion as com­fort­able and pain­less as pos­si­ble. I think we man­aged to do that, to make their tran­si­tion a smooth one.”

Af­ter lis­ten­ing to Comi­tis’ vi­sion for City, and per­suaded by his gen­eros­ity in as­sur­ing their re­lo­ca­tion would be catered for, the Black Aces con­tin­gent took the plunge and made the long trek to the Cape – and we’ve all seen how im­pres­sively they’ve per­formed.

They even emerged vic­to­ri­ous in the Cape derby against neigh­bours Ajax Cape Town, and what was most im­pres­sive about the win was the man­ner in which they quickly un­der­stood and adapted to the cul­ture of the game in the Mother City.

They may not be Capeto­ni­ans by birth, but the play­ers who have come down from Mpumalanga to do the City jersey proud in the Cape have quickly crept into the hearts of lo­cal foot­ball fol­low­ers.

“It was a dif­fi­cult to come to the Cape,” ad­mit­ted winger Aubrey Ngoma. “But the chair­man ( Comi­tis) made things eas­ier by hav­ing meet­ings with us in Joburg, to help us make the right de­ci­sion.

“We also spoke among our­selves as play­ers to see it as an op­por- tu­nity to ex­plore and chal­lenge our­selves un­der dif­fer­ent cir­cum­stances.” Right- back Vin­cent Kobola, added: “Yeah, it was dif­fi­cult to re­lo­cate and not a very easy de­ci­sion to take. “But, as a pro­fes­sional player, I knew that one day I would have to play out of town, so I was al­ready pre­pared men­tally. I had to make a de­ci­sion that would suit me and my fam­ily. I have made the right de­ci­sion to come to Cape Town.” But, for Ngo- ma’s part­ner- in- crime on the wing, the pacy Bon­go­lethu Jayiya who has been in bril­liant form, the de­ci­sion wasn’t all that tough.

“Re­lo­cat­ing to the Cape was very easy be­cause I have al­ways wanted to live in Cape Town, so it was not a dif­fi­cult choice, and to just come down and en­joy my foot­ball here,” Jayiya said.

While some be­lieve that foot­ball is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent in the Mother City, the per­for­mance and adap­ta­tion of the for­mer Black Aces play­ers have proved that opin­ion to be a bit of a fal­lacy. Foot­ball is foot­ball, it doesn’t mat­ter where you are.

And Capeto­ni­ans, like any other re­gion or city or coun­try, love to watch foot­ball that is en­ter­tain­ing and at­tract- ive. City’s re­cruits from up north have al­ready re­alised this, and they’ve de­liv­ered on the courage, com­mit­ment and flair so often de­manded by the Cape’s fickle foot­ball sup­port­ers.

“I think Cape Town has good play­ers with ex­cel­lent tech­nique,” said Kobola. “I was happy to see a player like Dun­can Ado­nis play­ing his first top- flight game and he played very well – it shows that Cape Town has ta­lent.

“At first, it was dif­fi­cult with the weather, but so far, so good. We feel wel­come here. I think what made it easy for me to adapt so quickly is be­cause of the other play­ers I came down with.

“Thanks to them, and the club, for ev­ery­thing, we all look for­ward to mak­ing hist- ory with City.”

Ngoma added: “Lis­ten­ing to the fans in the Cape, you can hear they like foot­ball when the ball is played on the ground. Be­cause of the beau­ti­ful fa­cil­i­ties, and us as play­ers en­joy­ing that type of foot­ball, our home sta­dium in Cape Town just wouldn’t al­low us to play aerial balls – it in­sists on car­pet foot­ball, which suits our style of play.”

For Jayiya, the move to the Mother City has been an en­er­gis­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Foot­ball is foot­ball, wher­ever you are,” he said. “But what I can say is that, in the Cape, the game is very fast and en­er­getic…

“I am loving ev­ery mo­ment of it and we are work­ing very hard each day to get bet­ter as a team.”

CAR­PET BALLERS: Aubrey Ngoma gets bet­ter ac­quainted with lo­cal team­mate Shaquille Abra­hams.

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