The procurement of Mpumalanga Black Aces by John Comitis and his investment group from the Morfou brothers, George and Mario, has seen the return of Cape Town City Football Club, and the Comitis family to football in the Cape. In a surprise move that seemed to come out of left-field, last season’s 4th placed side lost their coach, and over half of their personnel during the great migration from Mpumalanga to Cape Town. John Comitis and his family oversaw the growth of Ajax Cape Town from a microwave satellite team, into one of the biggest clubs in South Africa, and a leading institution on the continent in terms of youth development and scouting of young players. This was all before a tumultuous split that saw Ari Efstathiou and his brothers buying out the Comitis family, after the two groups were at loggerheads regarding the running of the cub, and the direction they wanted to take. This return is seen as a direct challenge to Ajax Cape Town, who have been largely unchallenged as a powerhouse on the Coast since the demise of Santos & AmaZulu; Chippa United have added a distinct flair to the region, but the market is wide open for another club to grow into a household brand in years to come.
Ajax Cape Town/ Cape Town City Rivalry
Buying a franchise, and moving it from Mpumalanga to the Cape just to spite a former business associate may not be the way John Comitis does business; but the move and its resulting statements have all seemed to point towards settling a vendetta, by building another powerhouse club in Cape Town. The rivalry between the two clubs has already heated up before the first ever encounter, if this burning passion to beat Ajax Cape Town on & off the field creates a healthy level of competition within the league, Mzansi diski will be better off for it. The question now becomes whether Cape Town City FC can do what Ajax CT, and most other local teams, have continually failed to do, attract supporters to the stadium and create an infectious feel good culture around the club.
The Cape Town City Brand
The forward thinking nature of the brand has already been displayed in how they have looked to use social media to engage their fans on selecting an away kit for the season ahead; a modern thinking club will resonate well with Millennial’s, many of whom are more concerned with international football to support local teams. There has been some speculation as to whether this new franchise has or will look to build any relations with a foreign based super club like Manchester City, who have steadily gone about establishing roots in various continents across the globe, the rumour has it that the previous links established with the Manchester based side, as Mpumalanga Black Aces, will be renewed going forward. We may not yet be fully privy to the modus operandi at Cape Town City Football Club, but the coming weeks and months will go a long way towards giving us a clearer view of what they will bring to South African football.
A Brief History…
Cape Town City Football Club
Years Active: 1962 – 1977; 2016 –
Previous League: National Football League (Former Whites-only League)
Former Home Ground: Hartleyvale Stadium, Observatory; Cape Town
Home Colours: Gold & Blue
Notable Former Chairmen: Ian Taylor & W. Gradner
Notable Former Coaches: Reg Smith, Frank Lord & Roy Bailey
Notable Former Players: Ben Anderson, Richard Allen, Gary Bailey (England International), Tony Brimacombe, Tommy Claxton, Mick Channon (England International), Roger Coetzee, Tony Coleman, Andy Donnelly, George Eastham (England International), Brian Edgley, Jóhannes Eðvaldsson (Icelandic International), Gary France, Terry Gulliver, Ken Hewkins, Willie Hunter (Welsh International), Sir Geoff Hurst (England International), Dave Huson, Kai Johansen (Danish International), Kevin Keegan (England International), John Keirs, John Livingstone, Leon Kubic, Eric Logan, Vic Lovell, Peter Lorimer (Scottish International), George Graham Martin (South African International), Jimmy Morrison, Andy McBride, Andy McQuarrie, Don McKenzie, George Mulhall (Scottish International), Bill O’Grady, Yilmaz Orhan, Calvin Palmer, Frank “Jingles” Pereira, Jackie Plenderleith (Scottish International), John Rowlands, Ken Scott, John Sissons, Ian St John (Scottish International), Albert Uytenbogaardt (South African International), Roy Vernon (Welsh International), Mickey Walsh (Irish International), Jackie Wren & Ernie Yard
NFL (National Football League) – Champions, 1973, 1976; Runners-Up, 1965, 1970, 1971 & 1974
Castle (NFL) Cup – Winners, 1970, 1971 & 1976; Runners-Up, 1969
UTC Bowl – Winners, 1971 & 1973; Runners-Up, 1965
Champion of Champions – Winners, 1971, 1972 & 1974
Coca-Cola Shield – Runners-Up, 1970 & 1975
The Grand Stand View
Chairman John Comitis has promised a return of the entertaining Friday Night Football that would see crowds of 25 000 fans packing into Hartleyvale Stadium to watch Cape Town City FC, and their team of stars, many of whom were household names that had plied their trade in Europe prior. The City of Cape Town will be spoilt for choice, as another club enters an already saturated market, with a deep talent pool. The transfer policy at Cape Town City FC may take some time to iron out, or even truly critique; but the pressure is already on the club to put their cheque book where their figurative mouth is, and acquire the calibre of players that will enable them to survive, and excel in the 2016/2017 ABSA Premiership season.
The 14 odd players remaining from the Mpumalanga Black Aces roster were said to have been selected by Mushin Ertuğral, before he chose to take up the vacancy at Orlando Pirates, but the new Cape Town City FC gaffer, Eric Tinkler & his assistant Calvin Marlin, may have their own ideas of which players are required for the task at hand. It will be interesting to watch how the new club gets by as they endeavour to pass the teething stage of this transition, with Technical Director Craig Rosslee being tasked to oversee matters on the ground; many of us will be rooting for the club to succeed, because another thriving local club only strengthens our league and national sides. The rumoured interest in luring Steven Pienaar back to Cape Town, where he enjoyed great success in a Comitis owned Ajax CT, will surely spike up interest in the club; the arrival of a marquee player or two could be the perfect start towards usurping Ajax Cape Town as the kings of the Mother City.