PSL ad­ven­ture be­gins for ea­ger Patosi and ‘blind­folded’ McCarthy

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - ROD­NEY REIN­ERS

THE tra­di­tional sim­ile sug­gests Ayanda Patosi is as ea­ger as a beaver as he con­tem­plates his first ex­po­sure to the PSL. But, truth be told, it doesn’t fully ex­press the depth of emo­tion of the new Cape Town City at­tacker. In short, the beaver has noth­ing on Patosi – the 24-year-old’s ex­cite­ment is at fever pitch.

City host Polok­wane City in a MTN8 quar­ter-fi­nal at the Cape Town Sta­dium on Satur­day af­ter­noon (kick­off 3pm) – and the Cape club’s new sign­ing, who was lured back from Europe, is de­ter­mined to make an im­pact.

Patosi is set to make his PSL de­but at the age of 24 be­cause he spent six years at Bel­gian club Lok­eren. As a ju­nior, he came to promi­nence at the Cape youth academy ASD (Africa Soc­cer Devel­op­ment) and it was on an over­seas trip to Bel­gium that the hard-run­ning player was spot­ted and signed. Af­ter ini­tially do­ing well in Bel­gium, per­for­mances that earned him a call-up to the Bafana Bafana squad, things went awry for Patosi.

His ca­reer took a bit of a dip and, two months ago, when per­suaded by City boss John Comi­tis to re­turn home, the kid from Khayelit­sha took the gam­ble. Now he is con­fi­dent the fa­mil­iar, com­fort­ing sur­round­ings of the Mother City will al­low his nat­u­ral game to blossom again.

“It’s re­ally ex­cit­ing to be back play­ing at home again,” said Patosi. “I played in Cape Town with the na­tional team be­fore, but now I’m with City at home, with my fam­ily com­ing to the ground, and so, too, are the peo­ple from Khayelit­sha. I’ve been made wel­come in the squad, there’s a great to­geth­er­ness here and I’m look­ing for­ward to the sea­son.”

For Patosi, the op­por­tu­nity at City is also a nos­tal­gic jour­ney into his foot­ball-mad child­hood. Back then, he idolised play­ers like Benni McCarthy and re­cently-signed Teko Modise; now McCarthy is the coach, en­er­gis­ing and en­gi­neer­ing Patosi to get back on track, and Modise is an ex­pe­ri­enced, old hand, a team­mate he can turn to for guid­ance. “Teko was my role model when he was at Pi­rates and now I have an op­por­tu­nity to play in the same team as him,” said Patosi. “There are also other play­ers like Lehlo­honolo Ma­joro, who I used to watch on TV. Now he, too, is my team­mate.

“My aim is to achieve with this City team and help them to do well. I also want to do well for my­self, to get back into the Bafana squad.”

In Polok­wane, though, City are up against a tricky op­po­nent. The Lim­popo club sur­prised many by fin­ish­ing sixth in the PSL last sea­son – and they did so with a fear­less, re­lent­less at­tack­ing style of foot­ball.

With both McCarthy and Patosi new to the PSL, they ad­mit they are a bit in the dark about the op­po­si­tion.

“Even though I watched Polok­wane a few times, I don’t know all that much about them,” said Patosi. “The im­por­tant thing is that we need to fo­cus on our own team and make sure we get through to the next round.”

McCarthy, in­stead, has leaned on a former team­mate for as­sis­tance about Satur­day’s op­po­si­tion.

“I am a bit blind­folded go­ing to the match against Polok­wane, but I spoke to Shaun Bartlett (McCarthy’s former Bafana team­mate, who is head coach of the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria),” said McCarthy. “Tuks played Polok­wane in a friendly last week and Shaun has an idea of how they play.

McCarthy also gave some in­sight into how he wants to do things a lit­tle dif­fer­ently, in or­der to tweak City’s style of play. “I have in­tro­duced a high press style of play, in that I do not want teams to set­tle. We can still have the usual counter-at­tack as one of our strate­gies, but I don’t want it to be the only way we play.”

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