CAPE TOWN – City, on a high after winning the MTN8 at the weekend, will have to rapidly come down to earth because the next challenge is already upon them.
The demands of top-level professional sport are such that there is no time to dwell on success - and, for City, this is certainly the case as they now have to focus on the real bread and butter issues of the PSL.
City are back in action tonight when they host second-placed Wits in a league fixture at Cape Town Stadium (7.30pm kickoff) while, on Friday, they have a tricky away trip to Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium.
For a team still happy and dreamy after the weekend Cup achievement, head coach Benni McCarthy faces yet another searching test. Having won his first trophy as a coach, he will be just as buoyed as his players - but his challenge now is to re-focus his team. It’s vital that they shelve the joy and enthusiasm of the Cup success and look forward. In football, winning is just a feeling; enjoy it while it lasts and then move on to the next match.
City are certainly in desperate need of league points. As it stands, the Capetonians are down in 10th position on the PSL standings, with six points from six games. If McCarthy and his team have any designs on challenging for the title, or finishing in a high league position, then they cannot allow the front-runners to get too far ahead. And, victory over second-placed Wits (13 points from seven games) tonight will certainly kick-start City’s league campaign.
The Citizens, in fact, are fully aware of their situation. After their two previous Cup final appearances, they lost the league games immediately afterwards. This time, tonight, they want to avoid such a scenario.
“We’ve been stung twice,” said club boss John Comitis, “losing in the league after a Cup final. We have taken the lessons from those experiences and will plan carefully for the fixture against Wits; because we are concerned about our points-situation in the league.”
But, after three Cup finals in just three seasons as a PSL club, City must certainly be doing something right. Comitis gave some insight into why his team has rocketed to prominence in such a short space of time.
“We have to keep pinching ourselves to remind us of what we have achieved,” said Comitis. “It’s astronomical. But it has been done by the amazing self-belief the players have in themselves and their teammates. They’re a team and are always together, and they’ve achieved what they have because of the commitment they’ve shown. For me, I would rather have a bunch of hardworking triers, rather than 11 prima donnas who think they are doing the club a favour.
“I’m also very happy for Benni (McCarthy). We took a leap of faith in appointing him as coach, but he has continued to step up. And I have no doubt that he will keep getting better and better.”
For tonight’s fixture against Wits, as a gesture to thank City supporters, the entrance fee to the ground will be a mere R10.
This week’s PSL fixtures:
Tonight: Highlands Park v Kaizer Chiefs; Cape Town City v Bidvest Wits (Cape Town Stadium, 7.30pm); AmaZulu v Maritzburg United; Polokwane City v SuperSport United
Tomorrow: Bloemfontein Celtic v Mamelodi Sundowns; Black Leopards v Baroka FC; Orlando Pirates v Golden Arrows; Chippa United v Free State Stars