Cape Town City remain committed to building their own facility – which will include both a training and match venue – but they need the City of Cape Town to get moving in assisting the club to make it possible. It is especially the administrative red tape that is hindering City from getting started with the grand project.
City boss John Comitis realises that building his own home ground is becoming a matter of urgency, because the club’s venue problems are likely to get much worse before it gets any better. As it is, while they’ve managed to secure the Cape Town Stadium for Tuesday’s crunch, top-of-the-table clash against PSL log leaders Baroka FC, but the game will have to kick off at the unfortunate time of 6pm.
Comitis explains: “To be honest, we had no stadium at all for this game. Athlone wasn’t available, but we, in any case, are not keen to play there because the surface is terrible. Cape Town Stadium wasn’t available either because they have to start rigging for next month’s World Rugby Sevens event.
“We were looking at taking the game elsewhere, but, as a final request, we went back to the city and asked how we could make it possible to play the Baroka game at the Cape Town Stadium. They were amenable and said they could start rigging a day later, but we needed to start at 6pm, to leave time for the clean up afterwards. We took it, so 6pm it is. But for this I have to thank the city’s Stuart Diamond and Lesley de Reuck, who are always prepared to fight for football.”
The water restrictions have compounded Cape clubs’ difficulties, with Athlone Stadium struggling to pass the standards set by the PSL. As such, even the three NFD clubs – Stellenbosch, Ubuntu Cape Town and Cape Town All Stars – are struggling to find home venues. Comitis, though, is adamant that Athlone Stadium is not part of City’s future; their supporters are simply not keen on the venue.
To exacerbate the issue, Comitis also has to take into consideration the likelihood that Western Province Rugby will move to Cape Town Stadium in the near future – and what does that mean for football with regards to the availability of the former 2010 World Cup venue?
With all of this, Comitis is desperate to put his money where his mouth is and build his own facility, but he cannot do anything without the assistance and go-ahead of the city.
And, while all that is going on in the background, City still have to ensure that they remain a competitive, match-winning team on the field.
“For Baroka tomorrow, there can be only one result,” said Comitis. “We want to win, take the three points, go to the top of the log and put the pressure on the other teams. Just think about it, we’ve had a bit of a lull, a few bad results, and yet we are still right up there and challenging. The key to Tuesday’s game is to win and show that we may have slipped up a few times, but we are back in the reckoning.”
City welcome two key players back from injury – winger Aubrey Ngoma and goalkeeper Shu-Aib Walters – but injured Nigerian striker Victor Obinna is still two weeks away from being ready.