Craig Martin of Cape Town City during a recent training session at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town.Picture: BackpagePix

Benni McCarthy’s debut season as a head coach is rapidly drawing to a close. Cape Town City host SuperSport United in an Absa Premiership fixture at the Cape Town Stadium today (8.15pm kick-off) but whatever happens from now until the end of the campaign, there’s no doubt the former Bafana 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 opposition defenders.

Last week, in a 1-1 draw with Maritzburg United, the City winger was 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 against Maritzburg, 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’m still getting used to it, but 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 opponents desperate for points. Currently third from 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.”

The Saturday Star