CAPE TOWN – The charm of the Mother City, together with the charisma of Benni McCarthy, has revitalised the career of Riyaad Norodien.
Having signed a five-year deal with Cape Town City in June this year, the 23-year-old winger has quickly endeared himself to the club’s followers with some scintillating displays in the opening two weeks of the new PSL season.
City host Golden Arrows in a PSL fixture at the Cape Town Stadium – and Norodien is determined to continue the impact he has made at his new club.
He’s motivated, he’s hungry, and he can’t wait to get going again. More than that, the influence of McCarthy has had on his game is already there for all to see.
“I feel like a kid again playing for City and being coached by Benni,” said Norodien.
“It’s taken my game to another level. Being back in Cape Town makes me feel great; there’s just something here you can’t get anywhere else. I’m happy I get to see my family often again, so this has been a great move for me.
“I jumped at the opportunity to join City. Benni played a big role in that decision. As players we always looked up to him, so to be coached by him is a real boost for my confidence.”
Norodien is from Kensington and was a promising junior at popular amateur club Norway Parks. It was during an Under-10 match for Parks against Ajax Cape Town that the then-PSL club was alerted to his huge potential.
He was taken up in the Ajax youth academy, where he blossomed into a real top talent.
But, just as he was about to break into senior football, he found himself at the centre of an ugly contractual dispute with Ajax – and he subsequently spent 15 months idle on the sidelines.
Eventually, when everything was sorted, Norodien returned and immediately impressed then-Ajax coach Roger de Sa, who handed him a PSL debut.
He continued to impress and soon landed a transfer to Orlando Pirates in June 2016 - and he also had a loan spell at Platinum Stars.
This season, with McCarthy keen to add some thrust and creativity to his attack, Norodien was at the top of the shopping list.
Now, having already made his presence felt at City, the winger is confident of bringing even more fire and energy to his team’s offensive approach.
“I think being consistent is something I want to bring to City,” he said.
“I want to create chances, score goals, deliver good set-pieces and just work hard for the team overall. For me, I am always thinking ‘If they see your talent, they’ll come and get you’.”
Norodien also gave some insight into his time at Pirates.
“I didn’t play much,” he said. “Sometimes injuries, sometimes there were other things in the way, that’s why I was okay with going on loan (to Platinum). It helped me get back on track. The move to Pirates, though, was good for my career at the time - and, overall, I learnt a lot at the club.”
As for Arrows today, Norodien is confident, but cautious.
“For us, we don’t regard any game as easy, so we’ll approach this game against Arrows the same as we did for the SuperSport game (City won 2-0),” he said.
“We hope for exactly the same outcome too. That would be ideal.
“We know Arrows are a different team, who play on the counter-attack, so we need to look to stop them by pressing them in the right areas. The coaches have cooked up a plan, so it’s just up to us to go out and execute that plan.”@Reinerss11