Benni: De­feat to Chiefs is not the end of the world


UN­BEATEN Cape Town City were rid­ing the crest; Kaizer Chiefs were look­ing a lit­tle un­steady.

So Amakhosi needed to have a solid tac­ti­cal plan when they came to Cape Town Sta­dium for their PSL clash against Benni Mc­Carthy’s side on Wed­nes­day.

And this is how Chiefs coach Steve Kom­phela ex­plained the se­cret be­hind his team’s 2-0 vic­tory.

“There are two ways in foot­ball; you can give the ini­tia­tive or you can take it,” ex­plained Kom­phela. “If you take the ini­tia­tive, you are too ex­pan­sive, and you need to han­dle a lot. We needed to be smart (against City). And, im­por­tantly, we didn’t park the bus, we still came out nicely and played. Per­haps peo­ple ex­pected us to be more dic­tat­ing, so we gave them (City) the ini­tia­tive for ob­vi­ous rea­sons.

“We had the bet­ter dis­ci­pline de­fen­sively. Yes, they got be­hind us at times, but we dealt with it. The de­fend­ers did well and there was also great pro­tec­tion from the mid­field. And when we came out on the counter, we did so flu­ently and fast. But take noth­ing away from City, they push you to the limit.”

The Soweto club’s con­ser­va­tive game plan worked and, de­spite be­ing un­der the cosh for large pe­ri­ods of the match, they emerged vic­tors. They ab­sorbed the pres­sure from the Capeto­ni­ans, and then hit them bru­tally and ef­fec­tively on the counter. It was Amakhosi’s first win of the sea­son – and it was founded on the clever premise of nul­li­fy­ing City’s strengths.

Mc­Carthy says, in all the time he’s known Chiefs, he’s never seen them sit back as much as they did on Wed­nes­day night. The re­sponse from Kom­phela was sim­ple and un­equiv­o­cal: “It was de­lib­er­ate.”

Mc­Carthy had six new starters to face Chiefs as he chose to ro­tate the squad af­ter the week­end’s tough MTN8 semi-fi­nal win over Wits. It spoke vol­umes of his faith in his en­tire squad – and, even though they lost, ev­ery player gave his all. It was just un­for­tu­nate that they couldn’t con­vert their dom­i­nance of pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory into goals.

“I think we needed to ro­tate the team,” said Mc­Carthy. “In a job like this, you have to make de­ci­sions. I think los­ing Teko (Modise, to in­jury in the 16th minute) was cru­cial; that meant we didn’t have a player who could find the pass to kill their de­fence. “But credit to Chiefs, they frus­trated us. Their game plan was spot-on, in that they al­lowed us to play and then used their wingers to get be­hind us. (Goal­keeper Itumeleng) Khune was the mas­sive dif­fer­ence be­tween the teams. When you have such a keeper, it makes life so much eas­ier.

“It was like a fu­neral in our dress­ing-room af­ter­wards. But I still think my team can be proud of their per­for­mance. It was an en­ter­tain­ing game of foot­ball, end-to-end stuff. So it’s a loss, and all good things come to an end. Los­ing to Chiefs doesn’t make us a bad team. It’s still early, though, and the de­feat is not the end of the world. Now we just have to see how (we) move on from this. I was gut­ted that the win­ning streak came to an end. The chal­lenge now is to get the play­ers to pick them­selves up and keep go­ing with a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude.”

Mc­Carthy will be prepar­ing his City team for a clash against Or­lando Pi­rates, in Soweto on Tues­day.

MTN8 fi­nal: City vs Su­perS­port, 14 Oc­to­ber in Dur­ban.

RE­SPECT: Steve Kom­phela and Benni Mc­Carthy share a mo­ment at Cape Town Sta­dium on Wed­nes­day.

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