Patosi’s big chance to resurrect career at Cape Town City
CAPE Town City pulled off a major coup when they lured local lad Ayanda Patosi back from Europe last month. The 24-yearold attacker is expected to beef up the team’s strike-force this season and reduce the excessive load often carried by captain Lebogang Manyama.
But Patosi’s return to the city of his birth doesn’t mean he has given up on his European ambitions. In fact, the kid from Khayelitsha sees his move back home as a stepping-stone to carving out yet another transfer to an overseas club in the near future. Patosi came to prominence as a bustling, hard-running junior at the African Soccer Development (ASD) Academy in Cape Town. It was during a trip to Belgium with the Academy that the forward caught the eye of Belgian side Lokeren, after which, in 2011, he landed a deal with the club.
Initially, he was all the rage, lived up to his potential, and was selected for the Bafana Bafana squad. But things went sour at Lokeren – Patosi lost his place in the team and, subsequently, his Bafana spot. He desperately needed to get his career back on track. It was with this in mind, and based on the ambition and innovation of new club City, that the Cape-born player was persuaded to return home. If there’s one thing City owner John Comitis is good at, it’s a good sell. And it was the boss’ fervour and passion that clinched it for Patosi when he decided to throw in his lot with City.
“Cape Town City FC are an ambitious team and, with them, I see myself going back to Europe in the future,” said Patosi. “This team means business, and they aim to become one of the best in the country. City almost won the league last season, so my aim is to win the league with them or help the team get more cups.”
The other, more personal, reason, and one very close to his heart, is that now, finally, Patosi’s family and friends have an opportunity to watch him playing live, at home. And nothing pleases him more, especially as his mom will now be able to regularly come to the ground.
And, of course, it goes without saying that he is delighted at the opportunity to work with Benni McCarthy.
Patosi is feeding off McCarthy’s energy and enthusiasm at training, and just knowing what his coach has achieved as a player acts as motivation as he and the City squad prepare for the new PSL season. It drives the 24-year-old to constantly improve.
Patosi will certainly be a major asset for City and McCarthy. He is a difficult customer to mark and his relentless movement, on and off the ball, is sure to cause defenders in the PSL a massive headache. More importantly, the technical and tactical skills he learnt in Europe will certainly benefit City this season.
“In Europe, I learned to be hard on myself and to get into the mentality of working hard,” said Patosi. “The speed of the game is fast and I picked up great experience during my time overseas.”
Patosi netted his first Bafana goal in a 1-1 draw against Australia during a tour Down Under in May 2014. But the last time he wore the national jersey was in November 2016 – ever since, his career has gone quiet.
This opportunity with City is a chance to elevate himself, not just to put himself back on the map as a footballer of quality, but also to get back into the national picture with Bafana. Patosi stresses, though, that the national team is furthest from his mind. His entire focus is on City, the club that has offered him the chance to resurrect a career that was once so promising.