The 27-year-old Austrian had placed his life on a particular path, hence his arrival in the Mother City in 2016, but this crazy, unpredictable sport changed all that.
After his contract came to an end with Wolfsberger AC in the Austrian Bundesliga, Putsche wanted adventure; he wanted to grow his experience and travel to destinations unknown. The Mother City was first up.
Initially, the plan was to, at the same time, do some work with the Young Bafana Soccer Academy in Somerset West, but football always has a stranglehold on those who love the sport so passionately. When City was established Putsche couldn’t resist trying out – and, today, he is one of the PSL’s leading central midfielders. Tough, dominant and industrious, he is a vital cog in the City machine.
As the Cape side prepares for the final three games of the season – Polokwane City (away), Orlando Pirates (home) and AmaZulu (away) – Putsche took some time to offer an honest opinion of how things have gone, both for the team and for him personally.
“There is no doubt the team has not been performing as it can,” said Putsche. “You can partly say that we have been unlucky in many games, and that we have had injuries to key players at certain times, but overall I guess there is still the feeling that we should be doing far better.
“We are in position six and many would say we are supposed to be – we should be higher up. As a team, therefore, it is our duty in the final games to move the club up the log.”
While City have a good brand of football, in that they are comfortable on the ball and able to put together smooth, entertaining build-up plays, the work in the final third has let the side down on many occasions. In short, the Capetonians have been toothless in front of goal; it’s an area that remains a major source of concern for head coach Benni McCarthy, and it’s something that will have to be urgently addressed in the new season.
While Putsche offered some thoughts in mitigation of the problem, he did acknowledge that the goal-scoring issue was at the root of the team’s current malaise.
“The goals have been a problem, but you must remember that most of our injury problems have been up front,” said the Austrian. “With players in and out, there has never been a constant selection in attack and that makes things difficult. Also, because the results were not coming, that added to the issues from a psychological point of view.”
The Nedbank Cup semi-finals will be contested this weekend, with Kaizer Chiefs hosting Free State Stars today and Maritzburg United tackling Mamelodi Sundowns tomorrow. City crashed out of the competition when they lost 2-1 to Sundowns at the quarter-final stage. When asked for his opinion on the eventual winner, Putsche didn’t go for the usual suspects, Chiefs or Sundowns.
“It would have been great if we could’ve got to the final,” he said. “Just imagine City in the final, in front of the Cape Town crowd, it would have been awesome. But we just couldn’t make it Now, everybody is looking at Sundowns as the favourites, but, you know what, Maritzburg are very dangerous – and I think the other teams should be aware of them. I think they could surprise.”