Will McCarthy and City live up to the hype when the sea­son starts?

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - ROD­NEY REINERS

THE an­tic­i­pa­tion is build­ing. Af­ter a sen­sa­tional de­but cam­paign last sea­son, Cape Town City get the new sea­son un­der way with an MTN8 quar­ter-fi­nal tie against Polok­wane City at the Cape Town Sta­dium next Saturday af­ter­noon.

The ex­pec­ta­tion is mount­ing. With Benni McCarthy, one of the Mother City’s most revered sport­ing sons, in­stalled as the new man in charge of City, there is fran­tic in­ter­est in just how he will go in his first stint as a head coach.

By next week, as the days tick down to City’s open­ing fix­ture, it will have reached a crescendo. By match day, at the ground, in that iconic for­mer World Cup venue in Green Point, on tele­vi­sion, on ra­dio, on so­cial me­dia, in the streets and pubs and she­beens, it will be all about City and McCarthy. In essence, what every­body will want to know next Saturday is: How are City do­ing with McCarthy as coach?

Be­cause this buzz of foot­ball an­i­ma­tion is not just about the new, vi­brant Cape foot­ball club – it’s also, im­por­tantly, about McCarthy, the kid who fought his way out of Hanover Park, with only his tal­ent as a weapon, to grace the foot­ball fields of the world with panache and tri­umph. A win­ner of the Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons League, the all­time lead­ing Bafana Bafana goalscorer, McCarthy has be­come a cult fig­ure in South African sport. So, next week, as City’s open­ing game con­sumes the coun­try, the ques­tion every­one wants an­swered is whether his coach­ing ca­reer can em­u­late his play­ing suc­cess.

McCarthy, make no mis­take, is fully aware of foot­ball sup­port­ers’ ab­sorp­tion as he make his of­fi­cial de­but as a head coach; and he’s just as aware of the need to get City up and run­ning right from the open­ing fix­ture.

“We’ve been work­ing to­wards this mo­ment, where we’ll have the op­por­tu­nity to play our first com­pet­i­tive match,” said McCarthy. “This is what we’ve been wait­ing for … It’s the only way to gauge whether or not we are ready. I’m happy that we have the fix­ture fi­nalised and now we can put our fo­cus fully on this match against Polok­wane.

“The boys have done well. Since the very first day, we’ve been train­ing with un­be­liev­able in­ten­sity and to see the play­ers step up an­other gear has been a great feel­ing. The guys who we have brought in are also play­ing their part to lift the team, so over­all we are look­ing pretty good. More hard work is still to come. We’ve got to put our fi­nal prepa­ra­tions into train­ing in the next week.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.