CAPE TOWN - Cape Town City’s approach, since their inception last year, has been refreshingly different. Never afraid to gamble, they have often benefited from handing opportunities to individuals others deem too risky.
For example, City brought in a number of unknown, untried foreigners last season - including Australians James Brown and Matt Sim, Latvian Renars Rode and Austrian Roland Putsche. New to the pace and intensity of the PSL, it was always going to be a huge throw of the dice. Brown, Sim and Rode were soon on their way, unable to cope but, in Putsche, the Cape club discovered a real jewel. So, too, last year they signed a defender called Thamsanqa Mkhize, a name not known by too many. But the hard-running full-back turned into one of the stars of the campaign. It’s the concept of risk and reward - and City are certainly in the black in this regard.
This season, it has been no different. The gambling club is still prepared to take risks. Benni McCarthy has no experience as a head coach - but that didn’t worry City and they’ve taken a chance on the former Bafana Bafana striker.
And so, too, by signing local youngster Craig Martin, the Cape club has found another hidden talent who hasn’t been handed a proper opportunity at the highest level. A speedy, committed right wing-back, City have high hopes that the player can make the necessary progress that will elevate him to the PSL team. At 23, Martin may seem a bit old to be arriving in professional football for the first time, but for City boss John Comitis that is, in fact, exactly the motivating factor.
“Some players have not been fortunate enough to be noticed at a young age, or didn’t play at the clubs that promoted youth,” said Comitis. “Sometimes they can get lost and sometimes, at 23, it’s almost too late to be considered... But I believe Craig may still surprise us all and make his mark at this stage of his career, especially based on his belief in his ability, and the guts he has been showing at training.”