Absa Premiership title race: Is Benni in the area?

Benni McCarthy © Backpagepix

At Cape Town’s Athlone Stadium on Tuesday night – just a hackler’s whistle from where he was born and raised in the Cape Flats – Benni McCarthy graduated from being perceived as an experiment to a serious contender.

With only a handful of matches left in the Absa Premiership – and with Cape Town City third and separated by only a point with log leaders – Benni McCarthy’s men officially entered the Absa Premiership title race.

If anyone doubted his credentials two years ago – with only a few including John Comitis preaching to the unbelievers about the former FC Porto’s ability – Benni is rewarding the believe of his boss.

FIGHTING SPIRIT

As he inspired and spurred his Cape Town City players to yet another come back – a second successive one in the Absa Premiership against title challengers – Benni McCarthy not only took a giant step in shaping his coaching career but he also took Cape Town City to uncharted waters this season whereby, for the first time, they will be spoken on the same sentence as other championship candidates.

Mamelodi Sundowns had taken the lead in the first half and had looked in control of the game but something happened in the dressing room to their opponent and Cape Town City emerged a different creature. What was said remains anyone’s guess. It might remain a mystery for a while – just was the case last Friday night when they came back 0-2 down against another title chasing side, Bidvest Wits.

CONTENDERS OR NOT?

Not a man acquainted with conformity and political correctness, McCarthy has been uncharacteristically downplaying his chances.

“We're running our own race and focusing on what's on our plate. For us we take it one game at a time, we are not even title contenders. We don’t fall into that. We are just enjoying our football. We want to improve, we want to win football matches and come where we might end up, it's going to be a bonus and a plus.”

Some might suggest that the “old Benni” will be telling all and sundry about their prospects of triumph at the end of the season.

But maybe it is this other side of him – the modest approach mixed with aggression – that has freed his players to experiment and express themselves.

But whatever he is feeding his players at halftime – whether in words or nutrition – the opposition is certainly searching for the recipe.