Sport | iKapa derby about belonging: City, Spurs clash on new R16m Cape Town Stadium surface

Sport | iKapa derby about belonging: City, Spurs clash on new R16m Cape Town Stadium surface

  • Cape Town City will host Cape Town Spurs in the DStv Premiership Cape derby at Cape Town Stadium, which now boasts a hybrid grass pitch costing R16 million.
  • City, who are 13th in the league, struggled during their temporary relocation to Athlone Stadium due to renovations. 
  • Spurs, too, are desperate for a win, having suffered six consecutive defeats since returning to South Africa’s top flight.
  • For more sports news, head to our home page.

The first instalment of the DStv Premiership Cape derby (also known as iKapa derby) between Cape Town City and Cape Town Spurs will take place on a newly laid pitch at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

The pitch has garnered significant attention as it incorporates hybrid grass – 50% synthetic and 50% natural grass – and came with a substantial price tag of R16 million all the way from Germany.

Frequent use of the stadium, which is home ground to both City and rugby giants Stormers, saw the gradual deterioration of the 15-year-old pitch, which was escalated when the Western Province Rugby Union relocated from Newlands Stadium in 2021.

In addition, among all the stadiums associated with the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Cape Town Stadium stands out as the most versatile and economically productive.

Its multifaceted usage, from hosting the Cape Town Sevens and prestigious events such as the Cape Town Marathon and Cycle Tour, to musical concerts and recent additions like the Monster Jam truck festival, has come at a cost.

Clayton Daniels and Thamsanqa Mkhize

Clayton Daniels and Thamsanqa Mkhize

The last sporting event held at the arena was the United Rugby Championship final between the Stormers and Munster on 27 May this year, which was packed to its 55-000 capacity. 

John Dobson’s team couldn’t retain their title, falling 19-14 to the Irish team.

Shortly after that game, the stadium’s turf underwent a three-month renovation. It marks the first time the pitch has been replaced since the 2010 FIFA World Cup arena opened in 2009.

While the surface was being laid, City had to host their home matches at Athlone Stadium as the 2023/24 soccer season commenced in early August, an adjustment that coach Eric Tinkler says contributed to their slow start.

“This (Cape Town Stadium) has been important for us, it’s been our home. This is where we collect the majority of our points,” Tinkler told News24.

“People need to realise that we’ve played five away matches because we didn’t have a stadium, and now is the time we can start collecting points.”

City, who are 13th on the league standings after six matches that included two wins, one draw and four defeats, lost two of their three matches played at their temporary home ground in Athlone.

However, they are eager to resume their strong form from last season, when they secured a fourth-place finish, as they return to Cape Town Stadium to face their neighbours.

Tinkler said he does not feel any pressure despite five winless games on the trot in the Dstv Premiership.

“There is going to be rough patches and good patches,” he continued.

“Everybody is raising the issues, but, for me, the issues right now are no different to the issues of last season and the season before. I stay away from the noise. I don’t become a bad coach overnight.”

Meanwhile, Spurs head coach Shaun Bartlett touched on the significance of the Ikapa derby and what it will mean for both sets of fans on the day.

shaun bartlett

Cape Town Spurs head coach Shaun Bartlett during the a training session at Cape Town Stadium on Thursday, 28 September 2023.

Spurs, anchored to the bottom of the log, are in dire need of three points after they have equalled a 24-year-old record last set by Umtata Bush Bucks during the 2000/01 season: suffering six consecutive defeats.

“I don’t need to motivate my players for this particular game on Saturday,” Bartlett said.

“It’s all about the pride of Cape Town and bragging rights, and most of my players come from communities in Cape Town. They’ll push themselves to the limit.”

Bartlett spoke about whether he had the backing of the board considering his team go into the feisty encounter on Saturday without a win this season.

“I only need the backing of the players, that’s the most important thing because we have to produce the results.

“The board has told us that they are fully behind us as a team, ensuring results will change. I told my team top eight is the goal for this season and that is still very realistic but it’s important we get those first points on the board.”

Veteran Spurs captain Clayton Daniels, who has numerous derby appearances under the belt across his nearly two-decade career, emphasised that this particular derby stands out as unique from any other he has experienced.

“This one is different for the culture because I’m a Cape coloured,” said the 39-year-old Daniels.

“There are many fans and players from Cape Town and we’ll be hoping to show both sets of fans that we (Spurs) belong in this league.”

Kick-off is at 15:00.

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