City’s aces have crept into the hearts of Cape Town
It has taken some adjusting, but ‘football is football, wherever you are’
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.