Benni adding his personal touch to City
And assistant Taylor says new coach will make them a little unpredictable
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.”
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