Former Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy rated Roland Putsche highly. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – When Roland Putsche returned from a long-term injury in October last year one might have thought the Austrian would walk straight back into the Cape Town City first team, such was the impact he had made for the Mother City club in their 2018/19 Premiership campaign.

His former coach, Benni McCarthy, rated him highly, but when the Cape legend was shown the door in the first week of November after a run of poor results, it turned into a different ball game for Putsche, who had signed a two-year contract extension with the Citizens at the start of 2019.

In came Jan Olde Riekerink to replace McCarthy, and Putsche, now fit and raring to go, wasn’t given a look-in by the Dutch tactician.

He did get a start the first game after the departure of McCarthy with Vasili Manousakis standing in for Olde Riekerink, and scored one of the five goals put past Polokwane City in a 5-3 win.

Then Olde Riekerink, now armed with his work permit, took charge and Putsche found himself benched for the rest of the year. But he was back in favour last month for the home fixture with Baroka FC, City winning 1-0.

And in the next game at home to AmaZulu FC he scored from outside the penalty area in a 2-2 result.

The coach now has him as a first-team regular and in partnership again with Thabo Nodada.

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“I’m just happy to be in the mix again,” Putsche said in the lead-up to Sunday’s away clash with Rise and Shine. “It took some time to get to where I am and no training in the world can create a game feeling. I have still a lot to improve on but finally games feel natural again. I am happy that I could contribute a little to finally getting some results. In the situation we found ourselves in, the team performance and to get the right result was the way higher priority.”

City will be out to atone for last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Mbombela United in the Nedbank Cup. But who will be entrusted with the striking duties?

With star forward Kermit Erasmus ruled out for the next six weeks with a serious hamstring injury, Olde Riekerink’s hand is a lot weaker in this department. Siphelele Mthembu started at the top of his formation against Mbombela but cried off injured inside of 10 minutes of the first half. 

Shane Roberts and Fakray Lakay have yet to shape when given the chance but will be in contention again along with fit-again Tashreeq Morris, who hasn’t seen any action since September following knee surgery.

Mike de Bruyn



Cape Argus

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