CAPE TOWN – Ayanda Patosi is back in form - and Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy couldn’t be happier for the lad from Khayelitsha. The two have had a few issues, especially when the former Bafana Bafana striker substituted the player a little more than a half an hour into a match a few weeks ago.
But it’s because McCarthy is a stickler for industry and commitment and, with Patosi not in great shape, he regularly found himself out of favour. He has had a tough time of it since signing for City in June last year. The 25-year-old attacking midfielder returned home after six years in Belgium with Lokeren, but battled with his physical conditioning. As a result, he has struggled for game time.
Patosi was then placed on a special diet and training regime to get back into shape. It has taken a while, but things are finally starting to look up for him again. On Friday night at Athlone Stadium, with the Cape side desperate to snap a four-game losing streak, he produced a stunning goal to inspire his team to a 2-0 win over Chippa United.
City are back in action on Wednesday when they are in Mozambique to tackle Costa do Sol in a Caf Confederation Cup first round, first leg tie (7pm kickoff) - and Patosi is keen to maintain the level of form he is now starting to deliver.
“I’m very happy for Patosi,” said McCarthy.
“It has been a real struggle for him this season. But he’s worked hard. I took a gamble on him against Chippa, but he rewarded the team; he showed his qualities. He gets on the ball and he makes us play. He’s also got goals in him - hopefully he can kick on now.”
McCarthy will miss this week’s Condeferation Cup fixture, with the team being prepared by assistant coach Vasili Manousakis. The former Bafana striker has a Uefa A Licence, but is in the process of completing the Uefa Pro Licence, the highest coaching qualification in Europe. He will be in England this week to complete the next instalment of the course, which will include attending the Manchester City versus Basel Champions League game on Wednesday night to do a match analysis.
Before jetting off, though, he is likely to leave Manousakis with some idea of how he wants to approach the match against the Mozambicans. City have always rotated the squad for inter-continental games and this should be no different. Patosi, though, will definitely come into contention for selection again. Now that he is back playing again, no doubt McCarthy wants to keep him going, to keep him hungry and motivated.
Meanwhile, at the weekend, three lower-tier Mother City sides have an opportunity to hog the spotlight in the round of 16 of the Nedbank Cup. Second Division team Steenberg and First Division sides Ubuntu Cape Town and Stellenbosch all face top-flight PSL opponents, but this Cup competition has a reputation for surprises.
Ubuntu are first up when they are in Durban to take on AmaZulu on Friday and then, on Saturday, Steenberg have a tough trip to Polokwane to play Baroka FC, with Stellenbosch having to face Kaizer Chiefs at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
City’s Nedbank Cup clash against Orlando Pirates is scheduled for next Wednesday at Cape Town Stadium.
This week’s PSL fixture:
Wednesday: Bloemfontein Celtic v Polokwane City