Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy watches during a recent match. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - Benni McCarthy needs a cooling off period. Not away from being a coach completely, although he has probably considered that in the last several weeks.
With Cape Town City struggling to win, McCarthy has been blowing a proper fuse in each of his post-match interviews.

“My players just never listen,” the former Bafana Bafana striker, visibly irate, said after his team squandered a chance to shoot to the top of the PSL standings having surrendered their slender lead in the dying minutes of their 1-1 away clash against SuperSport United at Mbombela Stadium last Saturday.

“The instructions are simple - just keep the ball and take the chances when they come. It happens too often in this team.

“I am getting to a point where I am starting to think maybe I don’t speak a proper language or whether I need to go and learn another language so that the players can understand.”

It’s still a bit of a surprise how he hasn’t used obscenities in these interviews given City have only managed a single victory in their last seven league outings.

How McCarthy has not lost his marbles remains a mystery.

The national team’s all-time top goal scorer is, however, showing signs of hair loss, the job is so stressful.

If there is anyone who can’t wait for the Christmas break more than McCarthy, it’s his Baroka FC counterpart, Kgoloko Thobejane.

A point separates Bakgaga from the Mother City outfit on the log, although the latter have a game in hand.

It’s perhaps the fact that this season has been blowing hot and cold - much like the two teams' performances of late - that has helped both clubs remain in the top half of the table.

The title race deceivingly looked like a two-horse race between City and Baroka earlier in the season, McCarthy winning four of his first six league matches and quickly pulling away from genuine title contenders.

He did get a little cocky, telling all and sundry that “maybe this coaching thing is not as tough as it looks”.

But reality has struck, and with that, the inconsistent results.

It’s not an exaggeration to guess that the ideal start is what has possibly kept McCarthy in the job.

City chairman John Comitis also declared quite early on that he’d give McCarthy, in his first ever stint as a head coach, time to adjust and learn the tricks of the trade.

It’s been a rude awakening.

One thing McCarthy must learn though is to control what he says in public and when he says it.

Being overly critical of his players in the press or on television isn’t always the best approach.

It is likely that in the early days of their current slump, McCarthy was being too cautious even though he could tell that City were capitulating.

He’s had to learn on the job, and quickly.

It was always going to be a tough challenge to take up his first ever coaching job at a club that had built such high expectations last season by not only finishing third in the Absa Premiership, but winning the Telkom Knockout as well.

McCarthy has the remainder of 2017 - with fixtures against AmaZulu at home on Friday and away to leaders Mamelodi Sundowns next Tuesday - to get a reaction from his players before he goes to cool off and recalibrate.

The Star

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