Comitis backs McCarthy to ensure City avoid implosion of the Leicester kind
CAPE TOWN City boss John Comitis is acutely aware of the pitfalls of the second season syndrome – and has drummed home to his squad the dangers of complacency as they prepare to get the 2017-2018 campaign under way.
City host Polokwane City in an MTN8 quarterfinal tie at the on Saturday (kick-off 3pm). Last season, the Capetonians surprised with an energetic, excellent debut season, but the challenge is expected to be even greater this time around. Leicester City are the perfect example: After winning the English Premiership, they slumped to ordinariness the following season – and it is that kind of implosion that City, and Comitis, are determined to guard against.
“We know it will be much more difficult this season,” said Comitis. “But we are confident the team will do well again… In terms of what I’ve seen, I think we are 35-40 percent better prepared than we were this time last season. But, as I told the players, that is still not enough. As far as I am concerned, what is more important is that the players need to give the same commitment, co-operation, team work and fight they did in the last campaign. If we get that, then half the job is done.
“We are also aware of the need to be just as disciplined this season. This squad, including the new players we have added, have unbelievable attacking quality. They are an exciting team when they go forward, but I have stressed to them that we have to be just as good when it comes to defence, structure and discipline. The PSL is a competitive league and every team deserves respect. So, as we prepare to play Polokwane, everybody is mindful of what’s at stake, and just as aware of the need to get off to a positive start.”
Last season’s head coach, Eric Tinkler, performed wonders at the helm – and, while many may think the new man in charge, Benni McCarthy, has big shoes to fill, and a lot to live up to, Comitis differs. In fact, the charismatic club boss has put absolutely no pressure on McCarthy for the season ahead.
“Obviously, we set a benchmark last season by finishing third, but the mandate given to Benni is to keep us in the top eight this season,” said Comitis. “We will be patient with the coach, who is in his first season in charge. I can assure you that Benni won’t be judged by this season, it’s far too early to do so. But based on what I have seen from the squad, and how they’ve gone about things, I still believe we will be pleasantly surprised. In fact, I would go so far as to say I would be disappointed if we don’t finish in the top five.”
Squad wise, Comitis has promised to add one or two more players before the transfer window closes at the end of the month. He’s weighing up a few foreign options, especially African internationals who can add experience and quality to boost the Cape club’s campaign in the Caf Confederations Cup later this season.
The other aspect Comitis is keeping a close eye on is the training facility. City have the use of the Green Point ground until the end of September and the ambitious club owner doesn’t want a repeat of last season when the team had to trek from ground to ground to prepare for matches.
“I think the City of Cape Town is fully aware of the time line,” he said. “There can be no excuses this time. If the city is serious about having a club like Cape Town City in the region, then they have to make sure we have a more permanent place by then.” month and won five of their other pre-season games, losing only to Barcelona.
Real, meanwhile, failed to win any of their four friendlies in the US in 90 minutes, losing 3-2 to Barca and getting thrashed 4-1 by Manchester City, their only win coming in a shoot-out victory over an MLS All-Stars team.
“The sensation overall is not good, when you don’t win any of your four games,” Zidane said.
“We have to do a lot more, we’ve made a bad start with these results and what we all want is to get home, rest and think about the Super Cup.” – Reuters