A new mountain to climb for CTC
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.”