BETHLEHEM – Benni McCarthy says Cape Town City, put together by businessman John Comitis last season after taking over at Mpumalanga Black Aces and relocating the team, are still too new to compete for titles.
The side from the Mother City missed out on a chance to cut the lead at the top of the Absa Premiership log to a single point on Saturday night when they lost to Free State Stars, the team that actually took advantage of Mamelodi Sundowns coming unstuck against Orlando Pirates 3-1.
The Bethlehem outfit beat City 1-0 at Goble Park to move to second on the Absa Premiership table, with City dropping to third.
“I am not one to look at what’s going on elsewhere because I look at what my team has to do,” said City coach McCarthy.
“We are not as big as people think. We went through a good run, we are a modest team, and my goal was to win the league, but that’s my personal goal.
“As a team we should just try and play as a unit and do better than last season (third place finish), get everyone on a higher level and push players into the national team.
“And so far we have done that. I don’t feel hard done by that we can’t keep up with Sundowns.”
City have been going through a rough patch recently – if it’s not their unpredictable form, it’s players leaving – as in the case of winger Aubrey Ngoma, who joined Sundowns this month, while captain Lebogang Manyama moved to Turkey just weeks into the new season.
His successor for the armband in defender Robyn Johannes has signed a pre-contract with Bidvest Wits and will not be there as of June.
“I knew from the day I walked in that Aubrey would be leaving soon,” McCarthy said.
“We couldn’t stop the inevitable. It has been a bit of a readjustment for us, but I think we have done okay with what we have.
“We have Surprise Ralani now, but he needs to get used to the conditions and the environment of the PSL. Those are the things we need to get right. We also have Teko (Modise), but at his age, you can’t expect him to travel all that much.
“You have to manage him properly, and I have a good relationship with most of the senior players and I manage him in a proper way. He is such an important player, and I want him to be available for the duration of the season.”
City will host their struggling rivals Ajax Cape Town in a league derby on Saturday afternoon, and McCarthy said that is the game he is most looking forward to.
“They are a good team, but were unfortunate to be in the situation that they are in. But the log standing doesn’t lie,” the coach said.
“They were not at the level that is good enough, but since Muhsin (Ertugral) came in, you can see there’s a revival.
“But the derby is different. We have also been wanting to get these other games out of the way and prepare for the derby, where the best Cape side will win.”