CAPE TOWN – In defeat, and it doesn’t matter how diabolical the performance, it’s often better to focus on the positives, even if it’s only a few. After a disappointing result in losing 1-0 to Golden Arrows at home on Wednesday, Cape Town City head coach Benni McCarthy has tried to console himself with the good rather than the bad.
City tackle Maritzburg United in a PSL fixture at the Harry Gwala Stadium tonight (kick-off 8.15pm) – and McCarthy, despite his frustration with his team’s inability to convert possession and opportunity into goals, is upbeat about improvement in the remaining five games.
The former Bafana striker is particularly happy that he has finally managed to get new striker Masoud Juma, on the field, while the return of rookie Craig Martin from injury is another boost.
Juma, the 26-year-old Kenyan, came to City during the January transfer window with a huge goal-scoring reputation. He had netted goals for fun back home – and the Capetonians are confident that, in time to come, he will transfer that ability to the PSL.
The attacker arrived in the Mother City with an injury, but even that didn’t deter City – their interest in the player is long-term. So they gave him time to recover and then brought him along gradually.
While he is now rehabilitated, he is still far from top form; McCarthy has no doubt the player will develop“Juma made himself useful (in Wednesday’s game against Arrows), he is quick and mobile, but he still needs to adapt to the PSL,” said McCarthy. “The game against Arrows was only his second opportunity and he will get better. His movement was good and he held the ball up okay, but you could see as the game progressed, he got fatigued.”
City are in the grip of an acute scoring crisis. It’s the main reason why they’ve under-achieved, despite playing some of the best build-up football in the PSL. As McCarthy remarked: “We want to play too much beautiful football, but when we get to the front, it looks like we don’t know what to do.”
But, in focusing on the positives for the Maritzburg clash tonight, the City coach said: “Craigy (Martin) is fit again and as a substitute against Arrows he was positive. He missed the Sundowns game because he had flu. He brought great energy to the game and made a difference when he came on.
“I’m also hoping that Matthew Rusike is fit and ready. We need striking players who can score goals – that is what we are missing. Hopefully, he will be at my disposal. And then I have some players coming back who were rested. For example, against Arrows I gave captain Robyn Johannes a break because when you get to a certain age the body needs rest. I even think that is why Teko (Modise) got injured. So, because we threw it away against Arrows, we now need to make up for it against Maritzburg.”
It will, of course, be a big ask. The KZN side has been in superb form all season. And, adding to the difficulty of City’s challenge, is the fact that Maritzburg also come off a defeat in midweek – 2-1 to Wits – and they will be just as determined to get back to winning ways.