McCarthy’s mo­ti­va­tion led to Mar­tin’s me­te­oric rise

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - ROD­NEY REINERS

BENNI MCCARTHY’S de­but sea­son as a head coach is rapidly draw­ing to a close. Cape Town City host Su­per­Sport United in a PSL fix­ture at the Cape Town Sta­dium tonight (kick-off 8.15pm) – but, what­ever hap­pens from now un­til the end of the cam­paign, there’s no doubt the for­mer Bafana striker has got quite a few things right since mak­ing the tran­si­tion to coach­ing.

City are cur­rently in sixth po­si­tion on the PSL stand­ings, with 35 points, and McCarthy has made it abun­dantly clear that he still has his eye on a top-four fin­ish. But, to do so, City are go­ing to have to score more reg­u­larly in or­der to win more of­ten – and the Capeto­ni­ans are look­ing to ex­cit­ing winger Craig Mar­tin

to spark the team in at­tack tonight.

If there’s one pos­i­tive to take from McCarthy’s ten­ure in charge of City this sea­son, then it’s his in­tro­duc­tion of Mar­tin. Last sea­son, the 24-year-old from Fac­tre­ton was lan­guish­ing in am­a­teur foot­ball – now he is one of the bright­est emerg­ing tal­ents in the PSL. McCarthy’s big as­set is his con­fi­dence in play­ers; he of­fers them op­por­tu­ni­ties. He doesn’t wait. If he thinks you are ready and you give the ef­fort and com­mit­ment at train­ing, he’ll fling you into the deep end. He did so with Mar­tin, and the winger has made gi­ants strides since be­ing given an op­por­tu­nity.

Mar­tin’s strength is his speed. He may be slight of build, but he is quick as light­ning and fright­ens the day­lights out of de­fend­ers. Last week, in a 1-1 draw with Mar­itzburg United, the City winger was the man of the match, and he’s look­ing to con­tinue in the same vein against Su­per­Sport tonight.

“I re­ally didn’t ex­pect to get the man of the match award, but I played my heart out and I’ll def­i­nitely con­tinue do­ing my best,” said Mar­tin. “I feel like I’m still get­ting used to the pace of the league and I take ev­ery game as it comes.

“I didn’t ex­pect to be such a hit in the PSL this early. I play my game like I used to play at my pre­vi­ous clubs – I al­ways play with my heart and soul ev­ery time I step onto the pitch.”

And it’s that at­ti­tude of giv­ing his all in ev­ery game that has en­deared Mar­tin to McCarthy. The for­mer Bafana striker ap­pre­ci­ates hard work and de­ter­mi­na­tion – and, in Mar­tin, he gets it all the time, be that at train­ing or on match day.

“It has been great work­ing with Benni, he is a great coach,” said Mar­tin. “He helps me out a lot with my po­si­tion­ing, he also mo­ti­vates me on and off the pitch. I owe this all to him for the work he put in to help me get to this point and for al­ways push­ing me to im­prove.”

In Su­per­Sport, City are up against an op­po­nent des­per­ate for points. Cur­rently third­from-bot­tom on the PSL log, things haven’t gone too well for the Pre­to­ria club this sea­son – and they’ll be keen to beat the Capeto­ni­ans to­day and start a move up the stand­ings.

“The last time we played Su­per­Sport (a 1-1 draw), we had the up­per hand for most of the game and lost con­cen­tra­tion in the last few min­utes,” said Mar­tin. “This time we’ll be bet­ter pre­pared to face them and we are now a lot stronger as a team.”

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