PRAIA, Cape Verde - Much has been made and written about an alleged bust-up between Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy and his captain Lebogang Manyama over the last week, but the latter - speaking ahead of Bafana Bafana’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde on Friday evening - said he was never preoccupied with external matters.
Manyama, who agreed a deal to join Turkish Super Lig club Konyaspor after he signed the contract at the Pestana Tropico Hotel (subject to a medical), will start upfront for Bafana, with national team mentor Stuart Baxter confident that he is far from being distracted by whether he was going to leave City or stay for one more season before the transfer widow shut.
McCarthy, though, had argued that was the case with his skipper, and he opted to omit him from the first leg of the MTN8 semi-final at home against Bidvest Wits last weekend.
“I don’t know how it can be said that I am not focused. When I play football I don’t worry about what is happening around me off the field,” Manyama said.
“I play to enjoy myself and to get better with each game. I can’t come here and question a person’s opinion of how I was. If they felt I was like that then I don’t have a problem with that.
"That is why I have been quiet about it because I respect that. For me there is no problem in going on the field and putting in a shift.”
Manyama, who also attracted interested from Premier Soccer League rivals Mamelodi Sundowns, admitted that he’d found it hard to deal with watching City from the stands, even though they were narrow 1-0 winners against Wits.
“It’s a tricky one because when you try argue your point they think you are arrogant. But sometimes you argue because you feel you can do the job,” he explained. “To be honest, I wanted to argue with him (McCarthy) as I felt I could do the job.
"But at the end of the day it is never about me and it’s not about the coach. I am not Cape Town City. I wasn’t prepared to start something that would have affected the whole team.”
Although he is on his way out, Manyama said he held McCarthy in high regard.
“He is the boss and I have absolutely no problem with him. We have known each other for some time. He was once came to Ajax Cape Town while I was still there and I have known him from then. We have to respect him for all he has done in football. So when he made the call to leave me out of the team I thought I have to respect the decision.”