JOHANNESBURG - Although he feels Cape Town City have been the most aggressive Premier League side in the transfer market to date, with the arrivals of Ayanda Patosi, Lyle Lakay and Mozambique captain Jeitoso, Lebogang Manyama talked down title aspirations for the Mother City outfit, now led by new coach Benni McCarthy.
“I don’t think anybody should expect anything special from us or the new coach. We know what we achieved last season, but it is very important that we quickly forget about it. We have enjoyed the moments, obviously, but we know it is going to be a lot tougher, but of course we want to finish even higher,” the City skipper, a nominee in the Footballer of the Season category ahead of next week’s PSL awards.
“I think we have to carry on the same way we have been doing - working hard and pushing ourselves to be better everyday. Hopefully our season can be better than last season and the evidence is there that we always improve because when we were Aces (prior to the sale of the franchise and relocating to Cape Town) we finished fourth and a year later we were in third place.”
Despite City being the obvious surprise package from the previous campaign, especially following the change in ownership, there’s a split on whether they will pick up from where they left off or struggle to scale to similar heights with McCarthy in charge.
But the signing of Patosi, Lakay and Jeitoso means club boss John Comitis isn’t resting on past success. City have also managed to hold on to Manyama and winger Aubrey Ngoma, even though they have lost influential players in Thato Mokeke (returns to SuperSport United) and Bhongolwethu Jayiya (couldn’t agree on terms for a new contract).
Ngoma, however, got injured while with the national team last week and looks set to miss a chunk of the first half of the season
“They are good replacements considering the type of players we have lost. Patosi can play anywhere upfront and you know when you have Lyle you have a versatile player, very much like Thato,” said Manyama. “The hope is that they can get into the team and adapt very quickly and we can get this car on the road and moving again.”
Manyama has urged his teammates to take advantage of playing at home next season as he felt City couldn’t keep up with eventual title winners Bidvest Wits by dropping points in their own backyard. “I can count the games for you,” he said. “They were very important.
“We had Orlando Pirates come back in the last minute to draw 2-2. We could have taken two more points from that match and kept Wits on their toes. And then we lost to Baroka, another three points at home and we also drew against Wits, a game I felt we could have won by a few goals.
“If you take those nine points and add to our total at the end of the season it shows we were not too far. I am not saying we will win all our games at home, but we should at least try.”