CAPE TOWN - Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy’s frustration with his team’s inability to close out matches continued at the weekend as they let in a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw with SuperSport United in Nelspruit.
There was, though, some positive news for football in the Mother City, in that Ajax Cape Town, finally, managed to bag a three-pointer on the road to commence a move up the PSL standings. The Cape side defeated high-riding Chippa United 1-0 in Johannesburg on Saturday night.
Both Cape clubs are back in action later this week, with City hosting AmaZulu at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday night (kick-off 8pm), and Ajax taking on Kaizer Chiefs at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night (8.15pm).
McCarthy, however, as he prepares for AmaZulu on Friday, is at his wits end. Somehow or other, City just continue to throw it away. Against SuperSport at the weekend, they had the game all sewn up, but the opposition snatched a late draw with a goal six minutes into the allotted seven-minute injury time period.
“That goal at the end was a Mike Tyson hammer blow,” said McCarthy. “My players just never listen to simple instructions, things like keeping the ball at your feet. We get so many chances and we don’t punish the opposition, which happens too often. It’s the basic things we don’t do right and we let teams off the hook, and we lose or draw. It’s just so frustrating.”
'Breath of fresh air'
On the plus side, however, McCarthy was happy with the contribution made by the returning Aubrey Ngoma. The left-wing recently came back from a lengthy injury and played off the bench in City’s two previous games. This time he was in from the start, was energetic and influential, and netted the team’s goal as well.
“Aubrey was like a breath of fresh air for us,” said McCarthy. “He has the experience, he has the class, and having him back was a like a new signing. He looked good at training this week, so I played him from the start to see how much he can give the team. I’m happy with his performance.”
Ngoma lasted 70 minutes before he was substituted - but McCarthy, no doubt, will be looking for even more from his star player against AmaZulu on Friday.
Meanwhile, over at Ajax, it may not be the usual sunshine football the team is known to play, but there is a lot to like about their improved defensive structure. It’s obvious that head coach Stanley Menzo has, for now, done away with the expansive, flowing style; he wants solidity and results.
Against Chippa on Saturday, they got the all-important goal through Thabo Mosadi - but, even though the opposition played with 10-men for a long time, Ajax didn’t shift from their conservative mentality. With the Capetonians facing Chiefs on Saturday, they’ll probably stick to the same game plan and hope to catch the Soweto side on the break.
“The win (over Chippa) feels good,” said Menzo. “It’s an important part of the season, just before the break, and we were faced with Wits, Chippa and Chiefs, all away from home. So the win was important.
“We will enjoy it, the players will have two days off, and then we’ll think about Chiefs. The key thing now is to show that we can be consistent. The players want to give, they want to fight - and, as a coach, that’s all you can ask for.”