JOHANNESBURG - His past in Belgium, where he played for Lokeren for six years before finally returning home to the PSL, has often meant that Ayanda Patosi is the forgotten man of SA football.
But he struck twice here for Cape Town City to jog everyone’s memory about just how special a player he can be. The Citizens had been trailing for much of this away Absa Premiership encounter against title favourites Orlando Pirates until Patosi scored two beautiful goals to draw the visitors level.
It was an inspired comeback, one coach Benni McCarthy, absent due to his wife suddenly taking ill, would have been proud of. McCarthy is in fact a big critic of the potential Patosi has – bouncing him in and out of the starting line-up last season because of his “attitude”.
He will want to keep him and draft him in as the first name on the team sheet following his display against a Pirates side that had looked to be in cruise control until just after the hour mark.
Pirates had relied on speed and power to blitz to a 2-0 lead before halftime, with striker Augustine Mulenga and leftback Innocent Maela finding the back of the net in the eighth and 16th minute respectively.
Mulenga had outsprinted City defender Kwanda Mngonyama, getting to the ball first and beating goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh at the far post. The goal minder had four put past him in the 4-1 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday afternoon in a performance to forget for both he and his teammates. He’d hardly dusted himself up when Maela headed home for Pirates’ second of the night after connecting with a corner kick from Vincent Pule.
It looked like it would be a walk in the park for the Buccaneers at the time, their pressing game easy on the eye as City struggled to keep up. But two moments of brilliance from Patosi earned McCarthy’s men a share of the spoils at a venue Pirates are finding it difficult to turn into a fortress.
Patosi’s first goal was a scorcher – hit from just outside the box with incredible power and giving goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane no chance of making the save. City immediately picked up momentum and looked a different side from the one that appeared exhausted in the first half despite several changes being made to the line up.
They managed a free kick in the opposition as a result of their persistence and Patosi stood over it, thumped it low and hard and straight in behind Mpontshane for the equaliser. It will be a night to remember: while questions are being asked of how Pirates surrendered a two-goal lead, many will remember talisman Patosi and his true potential.