CAPE TOWN - Goals have always been in short supply in South African football, be it at club or national level. It’s the curse that just won’t go away; it’s the hurdle that continues to hinder the progress of the sport in a country blessed with tricky, creative footballers, but which lacks clinical, decisive finishers.
It is why last season’s top marksman in the PSL wasn’t a striker, but rather Lebogang Manyama, the Cape Town City captain and attacking midfielder, who needed only 13 goals to win the PSL’s Golden Boot award.
New City coach Benni McCarthy, a lethal goal-getter during his playing days, wants to change this. He is determined to get his team scoring more consistently, and the player he is banking on is the experienced Lehlohonolo Majoro.
The Cape side hosts Polokwane City in a MTN8 quarterfinal at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3pm) - and Majoro has the perfect opportunity to make an early statement of intent.
A proven marksman in spells with AmaZulu and Kaizer Chiefs, Majoro’s career waned during a period at Orlando Pirates. The chance to revive his fortunes arrived when signed by new club City last year - and, while he showed glimpses of his old shine, niggling injuries prevented him from giving full vent to his scoring prowess.
This season, the 30-year-old striker from Ladybrand in the Free State, nicknamed “Major”, is ready. He’s motivated and determined - and, even more importantly, in McCarthy, he has a coach who knows what it takes to score.
“We’ve had a good pre-season programme and a few friendlies in which we measured our sharpness, fitness and shape, and at the same time we got to know more about the new coach’s philosophy and what he expects of the team,” said Majoro.
“There’s not a big difference between Eric Tinkler (previous coach) and Benni McCarthy. I think that, with Benni, we will just build up more from the back and try to keep possession more.
“There are always individual goals for players, but, for us, the team always comes first. And, as a team, we want to build on what we did last season. But, judging by the commitment the guys have shown at training, I think we will be ready. The new additions to the squad have brought something different, and they too are with us in the attitude that if we are together, we can conquer.”
Majoro, though, is aware of the threat presented by Polokwane.
“We know Polokwane can play, they are a good team,” he said. “They beat us 4-2 in the last game of the season a few months ago, and, from that, especially because we were 2-0 up at one stage, we know we cannot take them lightly. We have to learn from that defeat. Importantly, though, to get the result, we just have to do what we have been doing at training and in the friendly games.
“Obviously, on a more personal note, I want to score more. I’m focused on that and I will continue to work hard to strive to achieve my aims for the season.”
McCarthy has only been working with the team a short while, but he believes that, as time passes, and as he infuses the players with his knowledge and experience of composure in the penalty area, the scoring ratio will improve, especially from Majoro.
“Major (Majoro) has the experience,” said McCarthy. “We are working him as hard as possible to get him in the best possible shape. We want to get him sharp because he knows where the goals are.
“We’ve also got Lebo (Manyama), who can get you plenty as an attacking midfielder. Ayanda Patosi is on board and he, too, can chip in with a few goals. In fact, there are a number of players in the squad who have goals in them.”