McCarthy is just happy that his Cape Town City team is giving 100 percent effort and putting everything out there on the field
Gavin Hunt had some sage advice for protégé Benni McCarthy after Cape Town City defeated Bidvest Wits 1-0 in a MTN8 first leg semi-final at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday.
Hunt coached a 16-year-old McCarthy at Seven Stars many years ago. Now they are both in the coaching game. But, while 39-year-old City coach McCarthy is in his first stint in charge, 53-year-old Hunt has seen and done it all. He’s a four-time PSL title winner and he is fully aware of the vagaries of the sport. One day, it’s all sailing, the next day it could all be gloom and despair. So, as Hunt suggests, enjoy it while it lasts.
“He must think football is an easy game,” said Hunt of McCarthy’s fantastic start as a coach. “He’s probably saying: ‘What’s all the fuss about?’. But wait until he’s done 1 000 games like I’ve done, then we will see. He’s been great, he’s won every game, he looks the part, so all good and well.
“Three games or four games, wait until he’s done a 1 000.”
For McCarthy and his City team, it’s now four wins on the trot – and, needless to say, the former Bafana Bafana striker is chuffed with how things have gone.
“Hey, I’m not counting, just taking it game by game,” said McCarthy. “I’m happy, as long as the players give me 100 percent effort and put everything out there on the field, then all’s good. We aren’t a team of individuals, we do everything together. And, as I always tell the squad, winning must become a habit.
“I’m proud of the boys. Think about it, I’m in my first stint as a coach and then we have to play the PSL champions (Wits) three times. We’ve beaten them twice so far and we haven’t conceded a goal. Hey, maybe the pupil is slightly ahead now ”
McCarthy also opened up on the situation around star player Lebogang Manyama, who is the subject of much transfer speculation, with club boss John Comitis negotiating an overseas transfer for the player.
“Because of everything going on in the media, there was all this is about whether he (Manyama) was going to go or stay,” said McCarthy. “I thought that, at training, his mind wasn’t here. I had a chat with him and that was the general feeling I got. I knew that for the game against Wits we were going to need 100 percent concentration, and 100 percent commitment from everyone. If you are not going to give 100 percent, it’s better that you are out the team, and that’s the reason why he was out.”
City now head into the international break and, during this period, they will be preparing for the crucial second leg against Wits in Joburg. McCarthy is happy for the breather as it gives him time to work a on a few areas of concern.
“The break now is a good thing for us,” he said. “I can work on a few specific things, especially our offensive principles. I know we can defend, we can put our bodies on the line and we can win dirty. But we are lacking something in attack – we need the killer pass, the final ball, we need to be more ruthless in front of goal. That is what we will be working on; if you practice it every day, you will get better.”