CAPE TOWN – Benni McCarthy joked that he had unwittingly discovered a “Sergio Ramos” in his Cape Town City team.
The Cape side comfortably dispatched AmaZulu 3-0 in a PSL fixture at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.
Having shifted Mozambican left back Edmilson Dove to the centre of defence, McCarthy wasn’t too sure what he was going to get.
But Edmilson was assured and composed in defence – and afterwards, McCarthy was grinning like a Cheshire cat, having been vindicated by his decision.
Hence his reference to Real Madrid and Spain centre-back Ramos. The City coach explained the reasoning behind Edmilson’s switch.
“Edmilson was a stroke of luck,” said McCarthy.
“I had central defender Taariq Fielies back from suspension, but with Kwanda Mngonyama suspended, Kouassi Kouadja injured and youngster Keanu Cupido picking up a knock at training, I had no other central defender available.
“I knew I had two good left backs in Edmilson and Ebrahim Seedat; I had seen Edmilson play in a back-three for Mozambique.
“He is a good header of the ball and very calm in possession, so I opted to play him at centre-back.
“It may have happened by accident, but I think I may have found my Sergio Ramos – and I’ll claim it.”
Most of all, though, McCarthy was just happy to see his team play well again. They’ve battled in recent weeks, for form and goals, but both those aspects arrived in the victory over AmaZulu on Saturday.
“We were on an awful run,” said McCarthy. “We were back from winning the MTN8, and we were going into freefall – and naturally as a coach, you start to doubt yourself.
“But we had a few heart-to-heart chats. After that, you could see at training the attitude and the quality were back.
“Today (Saturday against AmaZulu) was phenomenal; the unity, and everything that we are trying to build at this club, was there to see.
“We played with good combinations, some beautiful football, and it was nice to see.
“The thing is that I don’t want City to be like a toothless shark. You know, something that people fear, but then they realise that it doesn’t actually bite.
“Against AmaZulu, we showed that we can bite – and I hope that we can continue with this form for the rest of the season.”
Also, with City only in action again on November 11, they will have more time to work on getting new striker Tokelo Rantie into action.
McCarthy had the player on the bench against AmaZulu on Saturday, but decided to err on the side of caution and kept him on the bench throughout.