A new moun­tain to climb for CTC

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MA­ZOLA MOLEFE

AL­THOUGH he feels Cape Town City have been the most ag­gres­sive Absa Pre­mier­ship side in the trans­fer mar­ket to date, Le­bo­gang Manyama has talked down ti­tle as­pi­ra­tions for the Mother City out­fit, now led by new coach Benni McCarthy.

“I don’t think any­body should ex­pect any­thing spe­cial from us or the new coach. We know what we achieved last sea­son, but it is very im­por­tant that we quickly for­get about it. We have en­joyed the mo­ments, ob­vi­ously, but we know it is go­ing to be a lot tougher. Of course we want to fin­ish even higher,” the City skip­per, a nom­i­nee in the Foot­baller of the Sea­son cat­e­gory ahead of next week’s PSL awards, said yes­ter­day.

“I think we have to carry on the same way we have been do­ing – work­ing hard and push­ing our­selves to be bet­ter ev­ery­day. The ev­i­dence is there that we al­ways im­prove be­cause when we were (Mpumalanga Black) Aces (be­fore their sale and re­lo­ca­tion to Cape Town), we fin­ished fourth and a year later we were in third place.”

De­spite City be­ing the ob­vi­ous sur­prise pack­age from the pre­vi­ous cam­paign, there’s a split on whether they will pick up from where they left off or strug­gle to scale sim­i­lar heights with McCarthy in charge.

But the sign­ing of Ayanda Patosi, Lyle Lakay and Mozam­bique cap­tain Jeitoso means club boss John Comi­tis isn’t hark­ing back to past success. City have also man­aged to hold on to Manyama and winger Aubrey Ngoma, even though they have lost in­flu­en­tial play­ers in Thato Mokeke (to Su­per­Sport United) and Bhon­gol­wethu Jayiya (in a con­tract dis­pute).

“They are good re­place­ments, con­sid­er­ing the type of play­ers we have lost. Patosi can play any­where up­front ... very much like Thato,” said Manyama. “The hope is that they can get into the team and adapt very quickly and we can get this car on the road and mov­ing again.”

Manyama has urged his team­mates to take ad­van­tage of play­ing at home next sea­son as he felt City couldn’t keep up with even­tual ti­tle win­ners Bid­vest Wits by drop­ping points in their own back­yard.

“I can count the games for you,” he said. “They were very im­por­tant. We had Or­lando Pi­rates come back in the last minute to draw 2-2 ... and then we lost to Baroka, an­other three points at home and we also drew against Wits. If you take those points and add to our to­tal at the end of the sea­son, it shows we were not too far. I am not say­ing we will win all our games at home, but we should at least try.”

City will not only have the do­mes­tic league to com­pete in dur­ing the com­ing sea­son – their third place fin­ish has also thrown them into the CAF Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup early next year, adding to their fix­ture list.

“You can say we don’t have the ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing in Africa, but if you look at the play­ers we have ... Lehlo­honolo Ma­joro was there with Pi­rates, Robyn Jo­hannes has been there with Pi­rates and Sun­downs, as well as Aubrey. And we have guys that come from Mozam­bique and have been in these tour­na­ments,” Manyama ex­plained. “So, I think we have enough ex­pe­ri­ence. Of course, it means a few more games to play, but it is much bet­ter than to have one game a week.”

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