Patosi’s big chance to res­ur­rect ca­reer at Cape Town City

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - ROD­NEY REIN­ERS

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.

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