After winning the MTN8 last season, Benni McCarthy’s Cape Town City are now gunning for top spot in the league. The former FC Porto striker has made no secret of his desire to lead his team to the summit this season.
City don’t quite have the history or budget of South Africa’s top clubs, but they do have a smart recruitment strategy and a wave of momentum behind them. Football fans in the Mother City have been starved of success since Santos won the Premiership in 2001/02 and they sense that their fortunes could be about to turn for the better.
Coach McCarthy showed his optimism when he said: “Our ambitions are high and if they [the players] don’t have those same ambitions‚ then I don’t think I am the right coach for you or that you are playing for the right team‚” as quoted by TimesLIVE.
McCarthy certainly has options at his disposal as Cape Town City have built up squad depth with some shrewd business in the transfer market over the last few years.
After signing Tashreeq Morris and Abbubaker Mobara, City also snapped up Dutch winger Bernio Verhagen. Then came the announcement of former Orlando Pirates midfielder Mpho Makola. City may not have bought in bulk during the off-season, but they have certainly made signings with the potential to cause a stir.
Roughly a year ago, Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane told SuperSport: “I think we should give credit to Benni (McCarthy) he has done well. Good brand of football, not to win at all costs. It’s beautiful. It’s good for our country to see young coaches coming up and play like this.”
Mosimane’s Sundowns were knocked out by McCarthy’s City last season during their bid to pick up the MTN8. In the end, City deservedly got their trophy.
Cape Town City FC nicknames
The Citizens, Blue and Gold Army.
Cape Town City FC history
The original Cape Town City FC competed in the National Football League in apartheid South Africa prior to the league being dissolved in 1977. Then came Ajax Cape Town co-founder and former shareholder John Comitis in 2016, who bought Mpumalanga Black Aces’ franchise rights.
Comitis moved his new club to Cape Town and rebranded them as Cape Town City. With that, a rising star in South African football was born. Cape Town City finished third in their first season and won the Telkom Knockout under the guidance of Eric Tinkler. After his departure to SuperSport United, Benni McCarthy took the reigns for the following campaign.
McCarthy did not have the easiest of starts. Although City made the MTN8 final and finished fifth in the league, they struggled to score goals in 2017-18. However, their attacking record improved significantly last season and they moved up to fourth, also winning the MTN8.
Having scored a measly 26 league goals in 2016-17, City banged in 47 during the last campaign, finishing as the top scorers in the division. They will be looking to strike a perfect balance during the 2019-20 campaign and go all the way to title glory.
Coach McCarthy is a former Orlando Pirates player and the Buccaneers are likely to be among the main contenders for the throne. However, he showed last season during a league match between City and Pirates whose side he is on.
City performed admirably that day with Pirates holding them to a 2-2 draw. Ultimately, Pirates would probably have beaten Sundowns to the title had they won the match, so City played a crucial role in last season’s title race.
Whatever friends McCarthy has at Orlando Pirates, he is unlikely to show too much sentimentality should his new side and former club find themselves battling it out for the title.
Cape Town City FC: Latest news and live scores
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Cape Town City FC 2019-20 squad
Forwards: Amethyst Bradley Ralani, Tokelo Rantie, Siphelele Mthembu, Allan Kateregga, Shaquille Abrahams
Midfilders: Kermit Erasmus, Chris David, Roland Putsche, Abbubaker Mobara, Mpho Makola, Riyaad Norodien, Thabo Nodada, Travis Graham, Gift Links, Zukile Kewuti, Duncan Adonis
Defenders: Thato Tsiliso Mokeke, Keanu Cupido, Kouassi Kouadja, Thamsanqa Mkhize, Edmilson, Taariq Fielies, Craig Martin
Goalkeepers: Peter Leeuwenburgh, Sage Stephens, Samora Motloung
Cape Town City FC: PSL season 2019-20 fixtures and results
Note: We endeavour to ensure that statistics are as accurate as
possible. However, the nature of record-keeping and South Africa’s Premier
Division allowing for the renaming of a PSL franchise might sometimes lead to
inaccurate figures. We will amend these as soon as they are noted.