Cape Town City's Thamsanqa Mkhize relishing title race after relegation scrap with Maritzburg


City, who were only formed in July after John Comitis bought the topflight status of Mpumalanga Black Aces, have since exceeded expectations as they won the Telkom Knockout in December and currently top the league standings.

Mkhize has been influential for the Citizens, as he was for Maritzburg United when he helped them narrowly beat the drop in 2015/16 - notably scoring a late winner in the penultimate match of the campaign against Ajax Cape Town.

Mkhize says competing for honours and scrapping for survival both pose challenges.

"This is a nice challenge," Mkhize tells "I remember last season when I was at Maritzburg United we were fighting relegation but I think both offer similar challenges of 'you have to win'.

"But fighting relegation hurts more because there you are fully aware if you lose matches you are putting the team in danger of relegation. So the challenge that we find ourself in is a challenge that is entertaining to us, because we know we've opportunities of if we win our remaining matches we've a chance of winning the league.

"In a way, these challenges are quite similar but this one is nice, you feel good inside that we are challenging for the league title. We are doing well and the team is also doing well.

"When you look at the challenge of relegation, that is also a big challenge because there you are fighting for your life and of course now we are fighting for our life because this chance we've now of winning the league, maybe we may not have it again. Maybe it won't happen the way it is now."

Mkhize is grateful to have joined Eric Tinkler's side after initially linking up with Orlando Pirates in the off-season before parting ways with the arrival of Muhsin Ertugral at Mayfair. Mkhize reportedly clashed with the Turk during their time together at former club Golden Arrows.

"When I left Maritzburg, and as much as people know that they didn't renew my contract, when I left them I wanted a new challenge whereby I'd play in a team that'll win something," Mkhize explains. "I'm not saying Maritzburg had no intention of winning something, no.

"When I went to Pirates it happened, whatever happened, and you know it. But I've to thank Mike Makaab [agent] and Craig Rosslee [City's former director of football] for rescuing my life because I was at home and they phoned me to say I have to come to Cape Town."