Citizens the perfect test for Pirates

JOHANNESBURG – Benni McCarthy was spitting fire after Cape Town City’s last match which saw the club go four games without a goal, while Orlando Pirates were shown flames by Bidvest Wits in Durban last week.

Put this together and City’s visit to Orlando Stadium to take on the Buccaneers today should be a fiery contest with both coaches feeling the heat in their respective clubs.

For both teams this was meant to be a season of delivery. Having gone toe-to-toe with the heavyweights and knocking out a few – like Pirates, who they derailed in the league race last season – City were expected to challenge for the Premiership title this season. But they slumped to mediocrity instead of rising up to the challenge.

“We don’t look like a team that’s even going to contest for second, third or fourth place at this moment in time,” McCarthy said after the draw with Golden Arrows last week.

“Something’s missing there and I am yet to put my finger on it. We are throwing points away like it’s no tomorrow. We are not ruthless. We are not there yet.”

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The Buccaneers were supposed to be winning silverware this season after two seasons of building under coach Micho Sredojevic. But the Serbian’s abrupt resignation threw a spanner in the works of those ambitions.

Rhulani Mokwena was thrown in the deep end and the Sea Robbers’ ship hit troubled waters. He has struggled to get them out of those waters.

The match against the Citizens is a good litmus test of where the club is. It will be competitive, against a team that scores but has a porous defence.

The game could also be key for City as they tend to raise their game when they are playing against the big teams. But that statement irks McCarthy.

“I don’t know if I can stand for that (players raising their game when they are playing against big teams),” McCarthy said.

“That’s short-sightedness, that now it’s Pirates let’s raise the game. That won’t sit well with me. I can’t coach players who have that small mentality, who in preparation for big games they up their level and the games that matter, that wins you the league and get you forward in life – those are the games that you don’t want to participate in.

“Now we have added better players than we had, but it’s going pear-shaped with the better players. Maybe I must go back to the bumping and grinding and getting dirty the old-fashioned way. We’re too set on playing beautiful football, but beautiful football without results will get me fired.”

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Coach Rhulani Mokwena was thrown in the deep end and the Sea Robbers’ ship hit troubled waters. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

McCarthy’s sharp words should fire up his team. The only victory they have registered this season was against promoted Stellenbosch while they drew with Baroka FC, Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United and Golden Arrows.

“Last season, not that I’m dwelling on the past, we used to run 90 minutes,” said McCarthy. “But now you look and see people walking, they have people working for them in the team and that’s the problem.”

Bonginkosi Ndadane

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