On paper, the odds may be against Cape Town City successfully defending their MTN8 trophy, but Roland Putsche cut an optimistic figure when he gauged his team’s chances.
The MTN8 title is the first shot at silverware in the Premier Soccer League season for the eight teams in the competition.
Defending their title could be welcomed by chairman John Comitis, but coach Benni McCarthy stressed that their primary focus is on the Premiership crown.
In the tournament’s 10-year history, only three teams - Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits - have won the double of the league title and MTN8.
Pirates are the only team to successfully defend the MTN8 trophy, having done so during the back-to-back trebles in 2010/11 and 2011/12.
But Putsche believes they can successfully compete on all fronts.
“I think it would be a great achievement to defend it,” midfielder Putsche stated.
“I think we can do it, that’s what Cape Town City stands for. We want to compete for every single competition, win trophies, and the MTN8 is the first possibility for Cape Town City to win something for the 2019/20 season.”
The pressure to become the first team to defend the MTN8 since Pirates may be daunting but Putsche admits they are embracing it.
In three years of existence, the Citizens have won two knockout titles, the Telkom Knockout and MTN8.
“There’s probably a little bit of extra pressure but I think that’s the reason why you play soccer,” Putsche added.
“We train for such situations but I think it’s an enjoyable pressure. I’d rather play and train. In England in the Premier League, we see how many games that these guys are capable of playing.
“I am not concerned about that (more games); I just think we should be able to play at any time and just be able to manage the load.”
If the Citizens really are eager to compete on all fronts, they’ll need everybody to be in the right mindset from the outset.
Currently there are rumours linking McCarthy with the vacant Bafana Bafana coaching post. A lapse of concentration or confusion could be detrimental to the club's aspirations.
McCarthy has done an exceptional job at City in his first two seasons as a head coach, but the sooner he admits his readiness and willingness to coach Bafana if he’s offered the job, the sooner his players can adjust their mindset about his future.
“There’s something (that has been said in the media) but I don’t even want to read it, I want to work with Benni McCarthy. He’s still young as the coach and the opportunity will come to him earlier or later anyways. So, it’s up to him if he chooses to take the opportunity (when it comes),” Putsche concluded.
The Citizens begin their MTN8 title defence against Polokwane City at home on Saturday.