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Spurs fancy their chances against inconsistent SuperSport

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Ernst Middendorp may have drawn encouragement from SuperSport’s lapses this year and believes Spurs still have a fighting chance of averting automatic relegation if they win all their remaining games and Richards Bay lose theirs.

Ernst Middendorp, head coach of Cape Town Spurs. Picture: Nic Bothma, BackpagePix

Herman Gibbs

Cape Town Spurs coach Ernst Middendorp is hoping against hope that his relegation-doomed side will avoid the axe this season.

Spurs will clash with top-eight-chasing SuperSport United in a DStv Premiership clash at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Friday night (7.30pm kick-off).

SuperSport have been inconsistent this year, and have dropped down the standings after being in second place at the end of last year.

They are now in sixth position, level on points with TS Galaxy, who have a game in hand.

Without saying so, Middendorp may have drawn encouragement from SuperSport’s lapses this year and believes Spurs (16th on the log) still have a fighting chance of averting automatic relegation if they win all their remaining games and Richards Bay (15th) lose theirs.

The Urban Warriors are coming off a 1-0 win against Royal AM on Tuesday. Before that, they lost to Polokwane City and defeated Richards Bay 1-0.

Middendorp has said he wants the players to enjoy the rest of the season and not worry too much about the outcome any more.

“Feel free, have fun, enjoy it and show the energy you showed against Royal AM. Be prepared to optimise your individual skills,” said Middendorp. “Do this while contributing to the collective cause, because that is the most important stuff.

“Here and there, we tell them which road to go and to drive, and hopefully we can make it (on Friday). “We prepared ourselves to the maximum, and let us see what we can take out of the match.

“It was a fully deserved victory against Royal AM, and the three points were very crucial for us. It was a lot of work we had to do before that game …

“We found some aspects during the week to look for improvement. We have seen some stuff. You must design some training sessions adequately. A lot of people have been surprised by these young guys.

“If you take only the games in 2024 with this team, we did well to inspire the guys to produce the energy.”

“That is our job (as coaches) in terms of going into this game against SuperSport.”

SuperSport coach Gavin Hunt has not given up hope of a top-four finish, despite results not going their way in recent weeks with his young players.

“We’re overachieving with some of these kids, but lack of experience is costing us. We are learning and we will get better,” said Hunt.

“The ambition is to try to finish as high as we can. We will still be in the top four – it can still happen. A win could have been a big step forward, but we are learning on the job.”

Hunt will be relying heavily on seasoned goal poacher Bradley Grobler, who scored a goal to allow SuperSport to register their first Premiership win in 2024 this year with a 1-0 victory away to Royal AM last week. Veteran striker Grobler remains a key part of the SuperSport line-up, with 10 goals scored in the Premiership.

If on target, he will be a massive threat to Spurs’ defence.

The Cape side’s Tanzanian defender Gadiel Kamagi has been effective when it comes to showing up in big matches from both a defensive and attacking perspective. He scored the winning goal in the Urban Warriors’ last fixture against Royal AM, and could be useful in this one too, should he start.

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