Benni adding his per­sonal touch to City

And as­sis­tant Tay­lor says new coach will make them a lit­tle un­pre­dictable

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - ROD­NEY REINERS

BENNI MCCARTHY is slowly start­ing to make his pres­ence felt at Cape Town City – and his chief as­sis­tant, Ian Tay­lor, the man he will rely heav­ily on when the sea­son gets un­der way, re­veals that the for­mer Bafana Bafana striker is al­ready bring­ing his per­sonal touch to things.

“Benni is ob­vi­ously new to coach­ing, so it’s go­ing to be in­ter­est­ing to watch him de­velop this sea­son,” said Tay­lor. “At train­ing, we can see that he is in­tro­duc­ing new ideas and adding some­thing dif­fer­ent. Es­sen­tially, though, things won’t dif­fer all that much from what Eric (Tin­kler) did last sea­son. While there’s no real rea­son to change too much, un­der Benni there will be small tac­ti­cal changes.

“Im­por­tantly, be­cause the squad, the play­ing per­son­nel, hasn’t changed, how much does Benni need to change? The same play­ers are here, the same tac­ti­cal dis­ci­pline we had last sea­son will be there, so there’s con­ti­nu­ity and that’s good as we pre­pare for the new sea­son.”

In foot­ball, a head coach is only as strong as the tech­ni­cal team he sur­rounds him­self with. Ap­point a few yes-men, as­sis­tants who don’t ques­tion and have lit­tle in­flu­ence, and watch ev­ery­thing im­plode. But a coach who brings on board hard-work­ing, strong-minded as­sis­tants with the nec­es­sary pas­sion to chal­lenge, to con­trib­ute, and it cre­ates a fever­ish, mo­ti­vated en­vi­ron­ment that rubs off on the play­ers.

City’s as­sis­tant-coach Tay­lor was the man who qui­etly of­fered ad­vice and guid­ance dur­ing Tin­kler’s suc­cess last sea­son – and, in this cam­paign, he’s just as ready to do his all for McCarthy.

Back in the mid-1990s, when McCarthy made his mark as a striker with Cape Town Spurs, Tay­lor was play­ing for Battswood. Later, when McCarthy had moved to Ajax Amsterdam, Tay­lor joined Spurs.

Tay­lor, since hang­ing up his play­ing boots, has al­ways been pas­sion­ate about de­vel­op­ment coach­ing. He is now the head of de­vel­op­ment at City while, at the same time, act­ing as McCarthy’s as­sis­tant. He will also take charge of the Cape club’s Re­serve Team in the Diski Chal­lenge, where he is re­spon­si­ble for en­sur­ing that the con­veyor belt con­tin­ues to churn out top-level foot­ballers for McCarthy to use in the PSL.

Tay­lor, though, ad­mit­ted that the one thing both he and McCarthy are aware of, is the need to be a lit­tle un­pre­dictable. Be­cause City, in their de­but sea­son last time out, were a new en­tity, they sur­prised quite a few teams. This time, op­pos­ing teams will have the Capeto­ni­ans at the top of their agenda: City are one of the teams to beat.

“I think, to­wards the end of last sea­son, the op­po­si­tion teams were al­ready start­ing to work us out,” said Tay­lor. “So we need to be a step ahead this time, we need to be able to change things tac­ti­cally, and we cer­tainly can­not be too pre­dictable. We have to be able to do some­thing dif­fer­ent on match days – and I think we have the play­ers to do so.”

In terms of new play­ers, Tay­lor be­lieves that the sign­ings of striker Ayanda Patosi, vet­eran mid­fielder Teko Modise, Mozam­bi­can de­fender Jeitosa and winger Lyle Lakay will make City even stronger this sea­son. And, in ad­di­tion to the quar­tet, the Cape club added an­other two new lo­cal names to the squad over the last few days – Taariq Fielies from Mi­lano United and Craig Martin from Glen­dene.

“Patosi showed what he is ca­pa­ble of when play­ing in Bel­gium,” said Tay­lor. “He has a lot of qual­ity play­ers around him, so there’s no rea­son he can’t get among the goals.

“As for Lyle, I al­ways liked him when he was at Celtic, and he’s fit­ting in nicely. I see him as be­ing a good as­set for the team. Aubrey Ngoma will be out for an­other four months (af­ter an op­er­a­tion) .He is dif­fer­ent to Aubrey, but just as ef­fec­tive. He doesn’t re­ally go past play­ers like Aubrey, but he can cross, he can shoot and his de­fen­sive work on the flank is solid.

“I coached Taariq when he was a ju­nior at Ajax, so I know him quite well. He is not just a good de­fender, and great in the air, he’s also com­fort­able on the ball.

“Craig is a right-wing­back I’ve been mon­i­tor­ing. Benni liked what he saw, and we signed him up for the PSL squad. He is still raw and needs some work; he’ll prob­a­bly play in the Diski while we watch his progress and im­prove­ment.”

Over­all Tay­lor and McCarthy are look­ing for­ward to the new sea­son, con­fi­dent City can con­tinue where they left off: “We want to im­prove. We ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions by fin­ish­ing third, but there’s real qual­ity in this squad and there’s no rea­son we can’t do bet­ter.”

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

FAST: Adam Peaty was at his dom­i­nant best in the 100m beast-stroke heats at the Fina World Cham­pi­onships in Bu­dapest, Hun­gary yes­ter­day.

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