CAPE TOWN – Benni McCarthy is, without doubt, one of the greatest goal-getters to have emerged from South Africa. His scoring exploits on the European and international stage are the stuff of legend. Because of this, it’s always a little incongruous that his Cape Town City side continues to struggle in front of goal.
It was the Cape side’s main problem last season and, this time around, there has been no real improvement.
Two weeks ago, City won the MTN8 final on penalties; the match ended goalless with the Citizens unable to score after dominating for 120 minutes. Subsequent to that, they lost 2-0 to Wits and could only manage a 0-0 draw with Maritzburg United last Friday. What’s more, there were also two goalless games earlier in the season against Golden Arrows and Free State Stars.
The lack of goals is a main contributor to City’s inconsistent results.
As much as City’s build-up play is impressive and, overall, their football is easy on the eye, goals remain in short supply. And, needless to say, if the Capetonians are to continue to make inroads as a club, this is a scenario that has to change.
Already, because of the lack of killer instinct in front of goal, their league position is starting to look a little precarious. If City want to be among the best in the PSL, then they are going to have to turn things around in the opposition penalty area - and very soon too.
City believe they have the solution; in a name: Tokelo Rantie. The 28-year-old former Bafana Bafana striker arrived in the Mother City a month ago. Quick as lightning, an instinctive marksman, Rantie had stints at Orlando Pirates (where he was a teammate of McCarthy), Malmo in Sweden, Bournemouth in England and Genclerbirligi in Turkey.
But he got disillusioned with the sport, and was about to throw in the towel and retire to his farm in the Free State when McCarthy and club boss John Comitis persuaded the player to sign for City.
Fitness and match conditioning were an issue, though. Rantie hadn’t played for a quite a while and McCarthy didn’t want to rush the striker back into action. So, for the last month, the new City man has been hard at work with the fitness trainer, twice a day, in a bid to get back in shape. He should, by now, be just about ready: and City, especially because of their problems in front of goal, can’t wait to get Rantie back into action.
The current international break provides McCarthy and his technical staff some more time to work on the player. Next up for City is a trip to Durban to take on AmaZulu in the first round of the Telkom Knockout on the weekend of October 20/21 - and all indications point to Rantie finally being handed his City debut, be that as a starter or off the bench.
“Rantie played 70 minutes in our last Diski game (Reserve League),” said Comitis. “It was tough for him, but he’s getting there. He’s lost eight kilograms since he joined us. By the next Cup game (AmaZulu) he should get some minutes, maybe even start. And, by the next league game (also AmaZulu), he should be firing on all cylinders.”
Comitis has no doubt that Rantie is the man to solve City’s scoring woes.
“He (Rantie) is the missing link,” said the City owner. “He is the player we believe can get behind defences and get us more goals.
To be honest, Rantie is someone we believe can be the difference between us being a challenger and a struggler.”