No player embodies the resurgence of Cape Town City than their marksman Kermit Erasmus. The pintsized striker is a reborn man, who has inspired City to impressive results in recent matches, where he has scored three in four matches.
For the first time in the PSL, Erasmus has managed double figures on the scoring charts. The 30-year-old from Port Elizabeth, who has scored 12 goals in the league, is just two goals shy of the top scorer position where incumbents – Gabadinho Mhango and Peter Shalulile are placed.
Like City, Erasmus struggled with form in the initial stages of the season but he has come to life.
City coach Jan Olde Riekerink says a change of focus on his striker’s part is the reason behind his revival. Erasmus’s approach to the game has changed since he no longer drifts deep to collect balls. The focus now is causing harm to defender and goalkeepers.
“He has those exceptional qualities. If he plays from the left side, we know that Surprise (Ralani) can play in between the lines. We know that we have to play the ball in his foot and he can make his actions and he is a genius,” said Riekerink after watching Erasmus’ solitary goal destroy Orlando Pirates in an Absa Premiership clash at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday afternoon.
“If he plays on the right, Fagrie (Lakay) is there and we have to play the ball behind the defence and that happens a lot with Kermit. The team, we will show them moments every time in the game that we didn’t play the ball to him.
“He is also now focusing only at the striker position and the space behind the defence of the opponents and not any more too much in the midfield. He is very dangerous for us and he’s the feeling to score the goals.”
In the match against Pirates, City where reduced to 10-man with Mpho Makola picking a second yellow in the 32nd minute, it was the Capetonians’ fighting spirit and teamwork that saw them amass maximum points.
“I think it was too bad that we played finally with 10 players because we struggled a little bit in the beginning but we found slowly the spaces and we start playing football. I think we were ready to play the football we wanted. From that moment, you have to realize, as a group, that individuals cannot win a game. Only groups can win games,” said the Dutchman.
The result moved City to seventh on the Absa Premiership table, where they sit with 36 points. Riekerink knows that their place in the top eight is not guaranteed hence he plans to have his men keep their foot on the pedal.
“For me as a coach, it’s a beautiful team. A team that is going for the highest and of course we want to be in the top eight. We are still not there so they know there’s a lot of teams close to each other,” said Riekerink. “I know that we implement in the brain of the team that we have to give everything. We have Arrows and Highlands now and we finish with SuperSport. Those are our direct rivals for those positions. I think it’s our job to show them what are the challenges for the next games. To be honest I trust my group.”
City face Golden Arrows at Ellis Park Stadium this coming Saturday.
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By Hosea Ramphekwa