Riekerink v Benni record: Goals to flow at Cape Town City
Cape Town - Hours after his appointment as Cape Town City head coach was announced on Wednesday, Jan Olde Riekerink attended his new team’s frantic 5-3 win over Polokwane City.
For better and worse, the Citizens often threw caution to the wind under Benni McCarthy. Riekerink's recent record suggests that he is an attack-minded coach, too.
According to Extra Time Media, Riekerink's first big coaching break came at Ajax, where he worked under Louis van Gaal in 1995. He stayed at the club for seven years before becoming the head coach at KAA Gent.
After spells with Gent and FC Emmen, Riekerink served as Co Adriaanse's assistant at FC Porto from mid-2005 to mid-2006. A hiatus from the highest coaching echelons followed with Riekerink joining AFC Ajax's youth academy. From 2007 to 2011, he worked as the academy's head coach. A stint with the Chinese national team’s youth structures followed.
Since he returned to top-level coaching in March 2016 with Galatasaray, Riekerink has offered plenty of entertainment. The Turkish giants scored freely under him, netting 88 goals in 41 matches. A final victory over Fenerbahce saw Riekerink’s Galatasaray clinch the Turkish Cup, followed with a Super Cup win over Besiktas.
Galatasaray's goals scored per game (2.15) and goals conceded per game (1.15) under Riekerink both exceeded his predecessor's averages. Under Mustafa Denizli, Gala scored 1.97 goals per game, conceding 1.13.
Galatasaray parted ways with Riekerink shortly before the end of the 2016-17 season with his side struggling to keep up with Besiktas in the title race.
Since then, neither Igor Tudor (1.97 goals per game) nor current Galatasaray boss Fatih Terim (two goals per game at the time of writing) have been able to match the goalscoring stats which Riekerink’s charges produced.
At Riekerink's next club, Heerenveen, goals became even more gluttonous. Much of this was due to a leaky defence which shipped 65 goals in 32 matches.
Even so, Riekerink's attacking football meant that Heerenveen scored 61 goals in 32 games; an average of 1.91, which came close to what his Galatasaray team managed.
Unfortunately for the 56-year-old, defensive frailty ultimately cost him his job. He was shown the exit on 10 April 2019.
With his first season in charge close to an end at the time, Heerenveen languished in tenth in the Eredivisie, two spots below the European playoffs.
Heerenveen ultimately finished 11th in 2018-19, a disappointment after they secured eighth the previous season. Currently, they sit seventh in the 2019-20 Eredivisie under Johnny Jansen with 18 goals scored and 13 conceded in 12 fixtures.
Recent years suggest that wherever Riekerink goes, goals follow – on both sides of the pitch.
Cape Town City owner John Comitis has gone for a like-for-like replacement after Benni McCarthy was sent on his way.
When he took charge in 2017, McCarthy inherited a team which had proven their attacking ability under Eric Tinkler. Their first season in the Premier Division saw them score 47 goals and concede 35 in 30 games en route to third place.
The departure of star player Lebogang Manyama appeared to affect City during McCarthy's first season as they scored just 26 goals, conceding 27 and finishing fifth. However, the Citizens turned on the style again in 2018-19, netting 47 times and shipping 35 goals again, this time finishing fourth.
City's defence has been particularly shambolic this season, ultimately costing McCarthy his job. At the time of his sacking, they had conceded 15 goals in nine league matches, the most in the division. Vasili Manousakis oversaw the chaotic win over Polokwane City in which they let in a further three.
McCarthy had made no secret of his desire to bring in a centre-back, openly flirting with the idea of a return for Robyn Johannes. The ex-Cape Town City captain was recently available once more having left for Bidvest Wits in 2018. Ultimately, Johannes signed for Stellenbosch, much to the chagrin of the then City coach.
Eventually, City brought in Greek centre-back Giannis Potouridis, but McCarthy was gone by the time he played his first match — the victory over Polokwane City.
Like McCarthy, Riekerink has shown in the past that he is willing to stand his ground over football matters. A high-profile dispute with Johan Cruyff led to his departure from the AFC Ajax Academy. He arrives in Cape Town off the back of a widely reported fallout between his predecessor and boss Comitis.
Riekerink and McCarthy clearly have more in common than an affiliation with Ajax and Porto. Experience will no doubt have taught the Dutch mentor that regardless of playing style, results are the most effective tool to set himself apart.
Meanwhile, City are back in action next week when the Absa Premiership resumes.
Riekerink will be in the dugout as City aim to get back into the top half of the league when they take on Bloemfontein Celtic.
Kick-off is at 19:30 on Wednesday, November 27.