McCarthy not tak­ing Leop­ards lightly

Cape Argus - - SPORT - ROD­NEY REINERS rod­ney.reiners@inl.co.za

BENNI MCCARTHY was glued to the TV screen on Wed­nes­day night, watch­ing Black Leop­ards’ 1-0 de­feat to Kaizer Chiefs. And af­ter­wards, de­spite the Lim­popo Prov­ince team’s loss, the Cape Town City coach came away rather im­pressed.

As such, when McCarthy’s team tackle Black Leop­ards in a PSL fix­ture at the Cape Town Sta­dium on Sun­day (3.30pm), he is not tak­ing any­thing for granted. In fact, he is tread­ing rather cau­tiously.

“Leop­ards’ game (against Chiefs) gave me a good in­di­ca­tion of what we are up against,” said McCarthy. “They are a newly pro­moted team but they haven’t dis­ap­pointed. They are a hard work­ing team, they’re very sound tech­ni­cally, and they can cause prob­lems if we do not do our home­work.

“But while Leop­ards are dan­ger­ous, they also com­mit quite a lot of play­ers for­ward. They are al­ways at­tack­ing. If we can by­pass their high press, then we can have sit­u­a­tions where our strik­ers or mid­field­ers have one-on-ones with their de­fend­ers.

“More im­por­tantly, we are on a good run now. The last win over AmaZulu was fan­tas­tic. We man­aged to score more than one goal and now we have to con­tinue with that same mind­set against Leop­ards.”

McCarthy wasn’t pre­pared to give too much away as he pre­pared for Leop­ards, but asked about the pos­si­bil­ity of play­ing left-back Ed­mil­son in the cen­tre of de­fence again, his face did be­tray a bit of a smile.

So more than likely, the classy, com­posed Mozam­bi­can left-back will again do duty along­side Taariq Fielies in the mid­dle of City’s de­fence. The po­si­tional switch was first used two weeks ago when the Cape side de­feated Ama Zulu 3-0.

Be­cause of in­jury and sus­pen­sion, McCarthy had only one cen­tre-back, Fielies, and he had a de­ci­sion to make. The coach opted for Ed­mil­son,

pic­tured, and the Mozam­bi­can was ab­so­lutely bril­liant.

Now McCarthy is more than tempted to stick to the sta­tus quo.

“Ed­mil­son can be the per­fect Ramos for me,” said McCarthy in ref­er­ence to Real Madrid and Spain cen­tral de­fender Ser­gio Ramos.

“He of­fers us a bet­ter sta­bil­ity be­cause he is a left-footer play­ing on the left side of the cen­tral de­fence.”

Hav­ing been the re­cip­i­ent of a Uefa Pro Li­cence coach­ing badge last week, McCarthy, need­less to say, was asked how he felt now that he was in pos­ses­sion of the high­est coach­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion in Europe.

“It’s a nice feel­ing,” he said. “I’m just a novice coach but I have the high­est qual­i­fi­ca­tion. For me, the point of it all was al­ways that I wanted to ed­u­cate my­self.

“And I have to say that I now know a lot of things I didn’t when I was a player. I am able to see the other side of things, how coach­ing ac­tu­ally works, the dif­fi­culty of it all, and the amount of think­ing and plan­ning in­volved.”

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