Benni McCarthy welcomes the selection headache is is faced with. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
 Cape Town City’s participation in the Caf Confederation Cup has allowed coach Benni McCarthy the opportunity to rotate the squad and provide game time for the rest of his players.

The City coach was quick to point out that it was up to the players to “show themselves” and give him a selection headache.

Earlier this week, City emerged victorious in the preliminary round of the inter-continental competition after a 2-0 aggregate win over Swaziland’s Young Buffaloes.

Today, they are back in Absa Premiership action when they host Bidvest Wits at Athlone Stadium (6pm kick-off) and when asked if any of the players had put up their hands to force their way into the reckoning for a starting place, McCarthy singled out three names - the experienced Surprise Ralani, and the two emerging youngsters Shane Roberts and Zukile Kewuti.

Ralani was superb in Tuesday’s win over Young Buffaloes; he put himself about with verve and enthusiasm and scored the winning goal as well.

“Surprise is definitely in with a shout,” said McCarthy.

“His energy and his trickery were a breath of fresh air for the team. His composure was great to see, and his European quality is starting to show.

“He has put himself in a good position to get into the team.”

This is 30-year-old Ralani’s first stint in the PSL.

Originally from Kimberley in the Northern Cape, he graduated from the Stars of Africa academy and then spent nine years plying his trade in Sweden and Denmark, with clubs such as Helsingborgs IF, IFK Hässleholm, Landskrona Bois and Lyngby BK.

Since arriving at City during the January transfer window, it has been a bit of an adaptation for the left-winger. But based on his sprightly performance in the continental event, it looks like he is finally starting to find his feet.

As for Roberts, now this is a kid to keep an eye on. Just 19-years-old, but blessed with great physique and a sweet touch, he’s taken the step up to the PSL squad with aplomb.

And rest assured, McCarthy is a big fan of the talented youngster.

“Shane is a young kid but he’s getting better and better with every game,” said the City coach. “He is also in line for a starting place against Wits on Saturday.”

With Austrian Roland Putsche suspended for today’s clash against Wits and Mpho Matsi still injured, there is an opening in midfield and Roberts has certainly staked a claim.

As for Kewuti, against Young Buffaloes on Tuesday he proved that he has great potential, though McCarthy wants to give this youngster a bit more time to grow.

His elevation won’t be too long in coming, though, and McCarthy is working very hard on fine-tuning Kewuti’s game.

“Zukile had just his second appearance in the first team (on Tuesday) and I like his energy on the field,” said the City coach.

“He still has to develop a bit more, but he is on the right track.”

But irrespective of who McCarthy selects today, the challenge is indeed a weighty one.

Wits will be highly motivated and extra-determined after playing second fiddle to City all season.

Having defeated the Clever Boys on four occasions already during this campaign, can the Capetonians do it again?


Saturday: Baroka FC v Polokwane City (3.30pm); Cape Town City v Bidvest Wits, Mamelodi Sundowns v SuperSport United (both 6pm); Free State Stars v AmaZulu, Kaizer Chiefs v Bloemfontein Celtic (both 8.15pm)

Tomorrow: Chippa United v Orlando Pirates (3.30pm); Golden Arrows v Ajax Cape Town (3.15pm)

Weekend Argus

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