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City banking on ‘all-for-one’ approach

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City's superb unity and fantastic team spirit needs to continue carrying the team

Robyn Johannes of Cape Town City.

Cape Town City won’t be looking to re-invent the wheel when they face Bidvest Wits in a crunch MTN8 second leg semi-final clash in Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon. In fact, it will be a case of same old, same old for the Capetonians, who take a 1-0 advantage into the match. Same ethos, same approach, and same commitment.

The fundamental feature of City’s appeal has been the superb unity and fantastic team spirit. Whatever happens, win or lose, up or down, they’re in it together. And, because this team harmony is so pivotal, they are able to pull off positive results.

In two previous outings against Wits this season, in the league and first leg cup tie, City emerged victorious – and, while they may not have enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, their trademark fight and bite got them through in the end. This time, in Sunday’s second leg, it should be no different.

“It will be another big battle,” said central defender Robyn Johannes. “We know it will be difficult, we know how good Wits are. We take an advantage into the game, which means Wits will have to come out and attack us and that will perhaps leave them open at the back. If we stick to the plan, we can pull it off.”

When City coach Benni McCarthy decided to drop captain and star player Lebogang Manyama for the first leg against Wits two weeks ago, because he felt the player had been distracted by transfer speculation, he handed the captain’s armband to Johannes. Now that Manyama has sealed a move to Konyaspor in Turkey (subject to a medical), the experienced central defender is the favourite to skipper the team on a permanent basis.

“Against Wits and the players responded well,” said Johannes. “If it happens that I am named the captain after that, then I will be happy to do the job. But this is the type of team where we respect whatever the decision is.”

Last season, Johannes formed a successful central defensive partnership with Tshepo Gumede. This season, the duo started the campaign again – but, when McCarthy recently rotated the starting team, he brought in new man Taariq Fielies (signed from Milano United). Fielies produced a storming game, to such an extent that McCarthy retained the defender from Salt River for the next fixture.

“Both are fantastic players,” said Johannes. “I like playing with defenders who can tackle and pass as well – both of them have a good pass and are aerially strong. I admire both and I learn whenever I play alongside them.

“Whoever plays of Taariq and Tshepo, the other will support, that’s how this team operates. We are a team, not a bunch of individuals.”

MTN8 semi-final
second leg fixtures

Saturday: Maritzburg United v SuperSport United (Harry Gwala Stadium, 8.15pm) – First Leg: 1-1

Sunday: Bidvest Wits v Cape Town City (Bidvest Stadium, 3pm) – First Leg: City 1-0 Wits