Siphelele Mthembu in action for Cape Town City during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 game against Kaizer Chiefs at Newlands Stadium in August. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Siphelele Mthembu hasn’t scored a goal for Cape Town City for longer than he’d care to remember.

The 32-year-old South African international was going great guns in the Premier League last season and was his side’s top goal-scorer with seven goals heading into the showdown with Kaizer Chiefs at the end of January.

The striker would be on the end of a cynical challenge from Chiefs defender Teenage Hadebe that saw him out of action for a month. His place was taken by new signing Kermit Erasmus. Mthembu wasn’t able to find top form on his return.

Fast-forward to this season and the tall, athletically built-marksman nicknamed “Shaka Zulu” has made three appearances for City in their four league games and looks to be getting back to his old self.

“As a striker you always want to score goals for the team, when injuries sometimes set you back, you become worried and put pressure on yourself,” said Mthembu. “But when you have a coach (Benni McCarthy) who understands such challengers you get motivation and you start to work hard again. The coach always pushes us to make scoring a habit in training and he doesn’t force us to try hard, he motivates us to become calm, goals will come.”

Mthembu is expected to start against SuperSport United on Saturday and is relishing the chance of facing a side in good form.

“It’s going to be a tough away game for us and a war judging from the history we have against them. We are ready and prepared,” he said. City did the league double over United last season while also beating them in the 2018 MTN8 final and in the last 32 of the Nedbank Cup.

The Citizens were their own worst enemy last time out in surrendering their unbeaten three-game start to the season against Chiefs at Newlands Stadium. McCarthy’s boys hit the ground running and landed the first blow delivered by Erasmus’ third-minute strike but then went missing in the second half, allowing Amakhosi to hit back with two goals in the final 15 minutes to net a 2-1 victory and stay unbeaten at the top of the standings. City dropped to eighth.

McCarthy said afterwards that he was going to be returning to his old ways in dealing with his charges when performing below what is expected.

Mike de Bruyn