CAPE TOWN – City coach Benni McCarthy refused to be diplomatic after his team’s 4-1 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon. While he accepted the loss, he is finding it extremely difficult to deal with his increasing frustration with referees in the PSL.
“The only good thing about the match official was the new sponsors’ kit,” said a visibly unhappy McCarthy. “As a coach, it’s frustrating when your team is not only up against 11 men in the field, but also against the man in the middle.”
Notwithstanding the City coach’s feelings about the referee, and his clear bias to Chiefs on the day, he was of the opinion that his players perhaps also found the occasion a bit overwhelming. Around 35 000 people packed into the former 2010 World Cup venue in Green Point; the noise was deafening, the atmosphere electric.
“We started slow and I’m not too sure the reason for it,” said McCarthy. “We knew that they would press us high and come at us, but we looked like we were star-struck. Perhaps the crowd affected the team - it’s not every day that we play in front of such a massive crowd.
“It was only after Chiefs scored that we started settling and got our confidence back. We got the equaliser and then we went into halftime thinking that we were back in it. But we went to sleep again at the start of the second half and they hit us again. But, at the same time, I have to say it was a nice assist from the ref. There was certainly no foul in the run-up to the goal. And then, when we went a man down, the task became almost impossible.”
But, whatever McCarthy’s issues, irrespective of the heavy defeat, and the fact that star defender Taariq Fielies was sent off in the 66th minute, City will have to quickly move forward. There is no time to dwell on negatives: the next challenge is already upon them. Next up is an away game against Orlando Pirates at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night (7.30pm kickoff).
“We have to move on and learn from our mistakes,” said McCarthy. “It’s Pirates away from home and I will be looking for a response from the team.”