CAPE TOWN – Benni McCarthy was visibly more forthcoming and jovial after Cape Town City defeated Orlando Pirates 1-0 at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
After a lean period of results, the victory was sweet reward for his continued belief that he is on the right track with his team.
Afterwards though, he made sure that he offered his congratulations to the new PSL champions, Mamelodi Sundowns. City’s win over second-placed Pirates ensured that, with one game to go, Sundowns are in an unassailable position at the top of the standings.
“I want to congratulate Pitso (Mosimane, Sundowns coach),” said McCarthy. “The success is thoroughly deserved. Sundowns showed class all season - and, with a squad like they have, it’s easy to be consistent.”
“At the same time, I also want to congratulate Pirates for turning their season around, especially if you look at how they started; they pushed Sundowns all the way.”
City’s triumph over Pirates was built on a wonderful goal from Ayanda Patosi and a solid, organised defence. McCarthy was very happy with his team’s performance.
“It has been frustrating in recent weeks because I know the capabilities of my players,” said the former Bafana Bafana striker. “It has just been a lack of efficiency that has been our main problem. One goal went in against Pirates, but it could have been more - again it was just that final finesse, the final touch, which let us down.”
“It was (a) satisfying win. It was the second time we faced Pirates in recent weeks (City recently beat the Soweto club in the Nedbank Cup) and they came into the game in great form. It was a pretty nice and open game.”
“Pirates were tactically organised and they moved the ball around well. Often, we were chasing the ball, but in an organised way and they couldn’t break us down. And when we went forward, we broke them down.”
“Overall, though, I thought we let ourselves down this season. But for all the draws and missed opportunities, we could have been second or third on the log. But it has been my first season as a coach. Next season, I will be one year wiser and can make a better go of it.”
McCarthy also gave some insight into his first season as a coach.
“It was my rookie year,” he said. “So now I know what it's like to manage a team. I have more experience, and I can deal better with things in the dressing-room and boardroom.”
When quizzed on whether he will be at City next season, he added: “I have a contract, but in football things change very quickly and suddenly. At the end of the season, I will be focusing on finishing my Uefa Pro Licence; it will be tough.”
City have one game remaining - away to AmaZulu on 12 May - so Saturday’s win was captain Robyn Johannes’ last home match with the team. Next season, the experienced defender joins Wits.
He will be missed - and he signed off at home with a towering display in defence, a performance that earned him the Man-of-the-Match award against Pirates.