Cape Town City midfielder Thabo Nodada says coach Jan Olde Riekerink has done an excellent job so far, saying they were starting to do better in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) after the Christmas break.
The Citizens' nippy midfielder has credited the Dutch manager for keeping his calm despite taking over a team that was bruised, singling out his sense of humour.
Nodada looks at former coach Benni McCarthy’s axing as one of the reasons why the 57-year-old boss came to a tough environment, saying replacing a coach that was trusted by the players wasn’t going to be easy.
“He is coming into a team that is bruised, he came into a team that had lost a coach that had an understanding, the belief and trust with 90 to 100% of his players and losing a coach like that is obviously going to have certain disadvantages to the team and our results showed that,” Nodada told the South African Football Journalists Association.
“The jokes were just interesting you know, humour that you don’t normally get from someone who is in a position of fire.
“He kept a cool head and didn’t try to tweak a lot of the things that we were already doing. I think he understood that at the time he arrived we were already active there is no pre-season.”
After parting ways with the former Bafana Bafana striker in the middle of the season, the 25-year-old has added that Riekerink was smart to ensure he builds relationships with his players as soon as possible.
“And he’s going to have to try as quickly as possible to develop relationships with players and get players on his side and working for him,” added the midfielder.
“I think if you look at how we came back from December and how we started January, I think that was a team that was much different from the team that was there a couple of games after Benni [McCarthy] left.
“So, yeah, I think he’s been doing a great job so far, and if the results were different I think we would be speaking something different.”
The former MTN8 champions axed the 2003/04 Uefa Champions League winner when the club was languishing at 13th on the log table after nine games back in November.
However, they now sit 10th on the table as they look to finish in the top-eight with 27 points just before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.