CAPE TOWN – Benni McCarthy is a coach set in his ways.
He makes no secret of the fact that he has a particular approach to the game and he’s not about to change.
Based on his extensive experience as a top-class player in Europe, the Cape Town City coach believes in hard work, commitment, professionalism and perseverance.
Because of this, when Robyn Johannes signed for Bidvest Wits and McCarthy had to appoint a new captain, there was only man in his mind – Thamsanqa Mkhize.
Mkhize leads the City team into battle in an Absa Premiership fixture against Kaizer Chiefs at Cape Town Stadium today (3pm kickoff), and McCarthy gave some insight into why he had no hesitation in handing the skipper’s armband to the 30-year-old right back.
“Thami (Mkhize) leads by example,” said McCarthy.
“As a professional, he is the perfect example of how to go about doing the job. He is first in the dressing-room, first on the training field and the last off it.
“Also, if he has any concerns, if he is not happy with his game, he will be the first to approach me for advice on how he can improve his performance.
“How he trains is how he plays. He is the kind of leader a team needs – that is why he is my captain.”
Mkhize is an integral part of the City side, not just for his defensive qualities, but also for his marauding presence down the right flank from an attacking perspective.
The Capetonians, though, have a tough few weeks ahead of them. Today they face Chiefs, next week they’re away to Orlando Pirates, and then it’s the MTN8 final against SuperSport United in Durban on September 29.
It’s a daunting challenge, but one that Mkhize is relishing. “It’s an important game against Chiefs,” said Mkhize.
“Chiefs are a big team, but we are at home, and our motivation is always that we want to make sure that we win our home games.
“So, this is a good opportunity for us to display on the field the type of football that we can play.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a good or a bad time to be playing against Chiefs. They are the type of team that can turn things around at any time.
“We’ve done well in the MTN8 and we want to continue that momentum. We are prepared for a tough few weeks, but we are ready. We know what we have to do.
“As much as we are excited to get to a cup final, we know we have to shift our focus to the league for the next two games.
“We’ve done okay in the league, but we know we can improve, and if we can get points against Chiefs and Pirates, then we can go into the cup final with confidence.”
MORNING CAPE TOWN! ☀️
All roads lead to the CT Stadium at 3pm as City and Chiefs collide. Partly sunny and 19°C predicted.
NOTE: NO TICKETS WILL BE SOLD AT THE STADIUM. TICKETS MUST BE PRE-PURCHASED.#CityChiefs#AbsaPrem pic.twitter.com/4Poth3aj7J
City have been working hard over the last 10 days to get some match fitness into new signing Tokelo Rantie.
The Bafana Bafana striker has been out of action for a while, but there is every chance McCarthy could use the speedy striker off the bench against Chiefs.
“Tokelo has done well so far, he has fitted in nicely,” said Mkhize.
“In fact, all the players who have joined this season are doing well and they want to make history with this club.”
The Chiefs fixture is also an opportunity for Mkhize and his teammates to reunite with former teammate Lebogang Manyama, who was such an inspirational figure during his time with the Cape club.
Manyama left City to play in Turkey, but is back in the PSL after signing for Chiefs.
Mkhize acknowledged the role Manyama had played in the team, and wished his former teammate everything of the best.
But, asked whether Manyama will score for Chiefs when he comes up against City today, Mkhize emphatically replied: “Never.”