Avatar photo

By Katlego Modiba

Football Journalist


Tinkler explains why ex-Leicester star struggled in Cape Town

‘This season, now let me use Khanya as an example and to a degree also (Aprocious) Petrus. (They were) panic buys at the time to be honest because we lost certain key players,’ said Tinkler.


Cape Town City coach Eric Tinkler has given insight into why former Leicester City midfielder star Khanya Leshabela failed to make an impact during his stay at the DStv Premiership outfit.

ALSO READ: Tinkler warns players against using City for bigger clubs

Leshabela rose through the ranks of former English Premier League champions Leicester before injuries derailed his progress. The 24-year-old signed a short-term deal with the Citizens 6 months ago but struggled to adjust to life in South African football.

City announced on Thursday that Leshabela is one of five players who have been released by the club alongside Mamelodi Sundowns loanee Thabiso Kutumela. Tinkler gave an honest assessment of Leshabela’s stint in the Mother City following their win over Sundowns two weeks ago.

“This season, now let me use Kanya as an example and to a degree also (Aprocious) Petrus. (They were) panic buys at the time to be honest because we lost certain key players,” he said.

“We needed to bring in players urgently and when you do that, you take a massive risk. You must understand that there’s going to be an adaptation. Players need to adapt to maybe my playing philosophy, the style of football, the intensity of football played in South Africa versus where he’s come from.

“To be fair to a guy like him coming from England, he struggled to really adapt to the pace, speed and intensity of our game and the pressing. He was literally thrown in at the deep end really hard versus (Aprocius) Petrus who plays for the Namibian national team and has played in Africa and he adapted a lot quicker.

Harsh reality

“We were fortunate that it happened that way because it could have gone the other way around where he could have struggled. When I brought him in, I was told he struggles with his passing but when he got here, he actually didn’t. His passing was actually crisp and good. Under pressure he didn’t panic where a Khanya has struggled with that under pressure.”

Tinkler added: “The harsh reality is that you want to give people time but like I said, these are the kind of holes that appeared and there was no time. It was about fixing the hole now and that can be harsh on the player sometimes.  Do I think Khanya is a good player? I think he is but did he struggle? Yes. I get judged on results and I don’t get judged on giving game time.”

ALSO READ: Tinkler warns players against using City for bigger clubs

Leshabela made nine appearances in the colours of City in both the league and Nedbank Cup. Angolan forward Jo Paciencia, Relebogile Mokhuoane and Bongani Mpandle have also parted ways with the club.