Manyama’s mes­sage for City

It’s MTN8 quar­ter­fi­nal time and Benni has the back­ing of ‘each and ev­ery player’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ROD­NEY REINERS

DON’T EX­PECT any­thing dif­fer­ent from Cape Town City this sea­son. In short, in this squad, in­di­vid­u­al­ism is not tol­er­ated. Ev­ery­thing re­volves around the team; every­body in the squad works to­wards the suc­cess of the unit.

This is the re­sound­ing mes­sage from City skip­per Le­bo­gang Manyama as the Cape club heads into to­day’s MTN8 quar­ter­fi­nal against Polok­wane City at the Cape Town Sta­dium (kick-off 3pm).

The words will prob­a­bly seem a bit ironic, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing that Manyama was the big win­ner at last sea­son’s PSL awards cer­e­mony. The in­spi­ra­tional City cap­tain walked off with the Player’s Player of the Sea­son, the Top Goalscorer prize and the cov­eted PSL Foot­baller of the Sea­son. But, for Manyama, the ac­co­lades are just a trib­ute to the graft and in­dus­try of the City team. It’s the dili­gence and ef­fort of each and ev­ery City player that al­lowed him to blos­som as in­di­vid­ual – and then, in turn, cre­ated the plat­form for the Cape club to have the suc­cess­ful de­but sea­son they had.

But all that is in the past, ac­knowl­edges Manyama. As City pre­pare for Polok­wane, he knows there’s a new, ar­du­ous sea­son ahead. Things will be tougher, teams will be bet­ter pre­pared.

For the 26- year- old from Tem­bisa, how­ever, it’s all about things the team can con­trol. They can’t con­cern them­selves too much about the op­po­si­tion and all the ex­tra­ne­ous things that per­tain to foot­ball – all they can do is to recre­ate the team ethic and the spirit of unity and har­mony that made the Capeto­ni­ans such a hit last sea­son.

“It’s the first game of the sea­son,” said Manyama. “We just have to put it in like we did last sea­son. We have to ap­ply our­selves like we did last sea­son. We know it will be tough, we know teams will be ready for us, but we will ap­proach it as we al­ways do – as a team.”

With last sea­son’s head coach Eric Tin­kler hav­ing jumped ship to join Su­perS­port United, the new man tasked with de­vel­op­ing this City squad even fur­ther is 39-yearold for­mer Bafana Bafana striker Benni McCarthy.

Ac­cord­ing to Manyama, there’s no need to worry too much; it’s so far, so good, with re­gard to McCarthy’s role as coach.

“The one thing I be­lieve in,” said the City skip­per, “is that every­body de­serves a chance. You can­not judge some­body be­fore he has had an op­por­tu­nity to show what he is ca­pa­ble of. Benni may not have coached be­fore, but I can tell you he has the back­ing of each and ev­ery player in the City squad.

“Over the last few weeks, he has shared a lot of his knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence with us. It’s still a work in progress and it’ll get even bet­ter with time.”

Manyama em­pha­sised, though, that City were in no way tak­ing to­day’s op­po­si­tion, Polok­wane, lightly. He is fully aware of how dif­fi­cult and com­pet­i­tive an op­po­nent the team from Lim­popo can be.

“Polok­wane are a very good team,” he said. “Last sea­son, like us, they sur­prised quite a few of the teams. So we know what to ex­pect and we know that we have to re­spect what they can bring.

“They love to play foot­ball and, in Jabu Maluleke, they have a player who can make things tick.

“I ex­pect it will be an open, en­ter­tain­ing game, and that should be great for the sup­port­ers.”

It’s go­ing to be very in­ter­est­ing to see how City go to­day, and for the rest of the sea­son, not just be­cause of the bril­liant Manyama, but also be­cause this is McCarthy’s first stint as a head coach. To add to that, vet­eran Teko Modise – a for­mer two-time PSL Foot­baller of the Sea­son – is on board, while Ayanda Patosi has re­turned from Europe and is us­ing City as a spring­board to re­launch his ca­reer.

No doubt, to ease the nerves, and in­fuse the squad with con­fi­dence go­ing for­ward, McCarthy will want noth­ing but a pos­i­tive re­sult to­day.

THE MA­JOR, THE CAP­TAIN AND TEKO: Lehlo­honolo Ma­joro, Le­bo­gang Manyama and Teko Modise pre­pare for a train­ing drill dur­ing a re­cent ses­sion at Green Point.

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