CAPE TOWN – Cape Town City have never shirked the big occasion. Since their inception as a PSL club in 2016, they’ve not just hit the ground running, they’ve also managed to capture the imagination of the football public with the bold manner in which they’ve approached things.
So, as City prepare to host Mamelodi Sundowns in a Nedbank Cup quarter-final tie at Cape Town Stadium on Sunday afternoon (3pm kickoff), don’t expect anything different. The Cape side will, as always, be gutsy and ballsy in their attitude.
They don’t shy away from challenges. In Sundowns, certainly the PSL’s best and most consistent performing team in recent seasons, City definitely have top-class opponents to contend with.
Having to face such a quality side, head coach Benni McCarthy is fully aware that he will need to have his best players fit, available and ready to go. As such, the former Bafana Bafana striker will have been more than happy to see left-back Ebrahim Seedat return to training this week. The 24-year-old has been out injured for a few weeks. Now, recovered and ready for action, he is pushing for a place in the team again.
Left-back is a position that always gives McCarthy a selection headache. City have two fantastic players in the position - Seedat and Edmilson Dove. Both have never let the side down - and, it doesn’t matter which player the coach picks, he knows he’s going to get a reliable performance.
In Seedat’s absence, it has been a bit easier for McCarthy, in that there has only been one name he needed to pencil in on the team sheet. And, as always, Edmilson didn’t disappoint. Now, with Seedat back, the City coach will have something to think about again, and it definitely provides him with more options as he contemplates his game plan for Sundowns.
“I’m over the injury, fully recovered and started training this week,” said Seedat. “Now the hard work starts, as I work my way back. But I’m ready and pushing to get back into the starting team.”
The left-back admits that City have it all to do against a team as good as Sundowns.
“It’s a tough one,” Seedat said. “The one thing always, for big games like this, is that players don’t need motivation. Sundowns are a big team and we just want to go out and do our best to win, and get to the next round of the competition.
“There’s no doubt that Sundowns have the best squad in the PSL. But, as the coach (McCarthy) always tells us: if you match them for effort, if you work harder than them, then you can beat a team like Sundowns.
And that is what we intend to do - the squad has been very hard at training this week, it has been very competitive because everybody wants to be part of the occasion. We are definitely going out there to win on Sunday.”
City have had the better of Sundowns over the last two seasons. City initially established an extraordinary dominance over the big-spending Pretoria club, winning the first three meetings between the two teams.
But Sundowns then rattled back to defeat the Cape side 1-0 at a packed Athlone Stadium early last month, a match which will always be remembered for Percy Tau’s magical piece of skill to create the winning goal for Khama Billiat. City will have learnt from that loss, though, and they are likely to keep a very close eye on the brilliant Tau.
All in all, though, it’s shaping up for really tasty Cup clash between two teams who have built up an engaging rivalry which has garnered the interest and attention of football supporters across the country.