Midfielder Makola is revitalised after ban
The former Orlando Pirates star is fresh off serving a reduced ban of four games (he was originally handed a six-month ban but appealed against it and won) for assaulting match referee Abongile Tom (he is a policeman) in a Telkom Knockout Round of 16 loss to Kaizer Chiefs in October.
He returned to the fold over the weekend as a second-half substitute and made a big difference to the side in their 1-0 home victory over fellow Absa Premiership strugglers Baroka FC.
The veteran midfielder added bite to City’s offensive play, which hasn’t exactly fired on all cylinders since Jan Olde Riekerink took charge of the team in the first week of November.
The 11th-placed Capetonians have only scored one goal in five league matches under his watch.
It remains to be seen whether the Dutch tactician, who ended his winless run last time out, will include Makola in his starting XI for tonight’s clash with 14th-placed AmaZulu FC at the Cape Town Stadium (7.30pm kick-off).
Makola wants to make a contribution to the club he joined last season.
“It’s exciting times for me,” he said. “I’m raring to go and do my bit to improve the team’s positioning on the log, which is not a true reflection of what we are capable of.
“As a playmaker for the team, a lot is expected of me in terms of making the team play, creating chances and scoring goals, and helping get maximum points on match days. That was something I was working towards before I got the ban, so that’s something people can expect from me. I’ve been working hard even though I was suspended, making sure I’m ready whenever I’m called upon.”
Thato Mokeke is another possible starter. The South Africa international failed to make the run-on XI for the Baroka game but did come on in the second half in place of Roland Putsche, another influential central midfielder who hasn’t had much game time under the new coach.
Usuthu arrive in the Mother City aiming for a league double after collecting a hard-fought 2-1 win in Durban thanks to striker Bongi Ntuli’s brace. He is in the race for the season-ending Golden Boot prize along with Knox Mutizwa (Golden Arrows) and Samir Nurkovic (Kaizer Chiefs). The KwaZulu-Natal side will be banking on him and fellow marksman Siyethemba Mnguni taking the fight to a City defence.
Mike de Bruyn