GI­ANT-KILLERS CITY READY FOR BAT­TLE

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - SPORT - ROD­NEY REINERS IN CAPE TOWN

BENNI McCarthy has com­pared Cape Town City to “David” as his team pre­pares to take on the “Go­liath” that is Kaizer Chiefs in an Absa Premiership fix­ture at the Cape Town Sta­dium to­mor­row af­ter­noon (kick-off 3pm).

In the Bi­b­li­cal tale, the young David slays Go­liath the gi­ant in com­bat – and the story has, in mod­ern times, be­come sym­bolic of a chal­lenge in which a smaller op­po­nent comes up against a big­ger ad­ver­sary: in essence, new PSL club City against tra­di­tional gi­ants Chiefs – the best sup­ported and most pop­u­lar foot­ball club in the PSL.

McCarthy, though, is hav­ing none of it. He is con­fi­dent that City, like David, can over­come.

“Chiefs have al­ways been the biggest team in the coun­try,” said McCarthy. “They may have good mo­ments, they may have bad mo­ments, but they will al­ways have the ma­jor­ity of fans. So we are the ‘Davids’ when we play against Chiefs or Or­lando Pi­rates.

“But that means that we are the gi­ant-slay­ers – we re­spect what Chiefs have achieved, and what they have done as a club, but we have 11 hun­gry war­riors ready to go into bat­tle. And, what’s more, if we keep win­ning games, we can try to turn Chiefs fans into City fans.”

For McCarthy, ir­re­spec­tive of who the op­po­si­tion is, he doesn’t re­ally change much.

He has a coach­ing and play­ing phi­los­o­phy he be­lieves in – and that is what he sticks to.

“At train­ing, we al­ways work on our strengths,” he said. “When I ar­rived here, I could see that the play­ers were tech­ni­cally very good on the ball. So what I’ve done is try to pol­ish it, to work on it on a daily ba­sis, and to make sure that we fo­cus on the strengths of the team.

“That is why we are al­ways play­ing from the back; we stay com­posed, we stay pa­tient and, in do­ing so, we be­lieve that, even­tu­ally, we will break teams down.

“It doesn’t mat­ter which team we play, or who the op­po­si­tion is, we will play the same way.”

Im­por­tantly, though, as McCarthy gears up for Chiefs, he stressed that his team needed to be more clin­i­cal in front of goal.

“Our build-ups are good,” he said. “But we have to have an end-prod­uct – we need to score more goals. Be­cause the chal­lenge is that we have to fin­ish off the op­po­si­tion, which we aren’t do­ing con­sis­tently enough.”

While McCarthy has made a promis­ing start to his fledgeling ca­reer as a foot­ball coach, he read­ily ad­mits the rea­son be­hind his rapid progress is the space within which he is al­lowed to op­er­ate.

He was quick to pay trib­ute to club chair­man John Comi­tis for cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment in which a coach can flour­ish.

“It’s about know­ing where you fit in,” said McCarthy. “When I came here, I knew I was com­ing to a club with ambition; I knew they wanted to achieve. And they were will­ing to take a risk with me as some­one who had never coached be­fore; they had faith in me.

“From my side, I was able to ed­u­cate my­self (McCarthy has a Uefa Pro Li­cence) and I was able to learn more about the job that I wanted to pur­sue af­ter my play­ing ca­reer. I can as­sure you that the knowl­edge I gained has helped me a lot in many sit­u­a­tions dur­ing my time at City.

“But the im­por­tant thing is that the en­vi­ron­ment I am in here at City is good. Un­like other clubs, I don’t have a chair­man who is on my back all the time.

“I am not in a po­si­tion where the coach is un­der pres­sure 24/7.”

CON­FI­DENT: ‘It doesn’t mat­ter which team we play, or who the op­po­si­tion is, we will play the same way,’ says Cape Town City FC head coach Benni McCarthy as they pre­pare to take on Kaizer Chiefs to­mor­row.PIC­TURE: Phando Jikelo/ African News Agency/ANA

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