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.