McCarthy’s trials include another SuperSport grilling
Will the Bafana legend’s transition from celebrated player to successful coach finally be confirmed?
Keep it simple and do not apply any unnecessary pressure on the players – that seems to be the mantra from MTN8 finalists Cape Town City and SuperSport United as they prepare for Saturday’s title decider at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
The sides will follow the same routine in their buildup to the game, flying into Durban on Friday and taking advantage of a single, official training session at the match venue on the eve of the game.
The rules allow both sides to train at the stadium 24 hours before the 7pm kick off and they’ve elected to take up the opportunity before the game. But that is the only change to their usual routine this week. For the rest, it is business as usual. There will be no training camp, no extra hotel nights or any special send offs.
City had four days off after their 2-2 draw last week at Orlando Pirates and returned to work on Monday morning, continuing their daily routine through the week, including a training session in the cold rain on Tuesday.
SuperSport followed their usual schedule too. They always have a recuperation session the day after a match and then the players have the next day off. So after beating Black Leopards 4-0 in the Absa Premiership in Atteridgeville on Sunday, the team came in for some stretching on Monday but had Tuesday off. They start their preparation for the final in earnest on Wednesday.
For SuperSport the cup final will follow six days after their last match while City have been kicking their heels since last Wednesday when they drew away at Pirates. But both will go into the final in buoyant mood after good results in their respective last matches.
Saturday’s final is a repeat of last year’s title decider between the selfsame sides that was won by United after a 4-2 penalty shootout victory at the same Moses Mabhida venue. Ten-man United denied Benni McCarthy what would have been his first cup glory in the 10th edition of the MTN8. Goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was the hero for Matsatsantsa a Pitori, saving Lyle Lakay and Judas Moseamedi spot-kicks to give his side their second trophy in this event after last winning it in 2004 in Durban.
McCarthy is yet to win a domestic cup competition as a coach and will be desperate to change this little fact on Saturday. Time will tell if coach Kaitano Tembo’s charges will inflict more pain on McCarthy or the Bafana Bafana legend’s transition from celebrated player to successful coach will finally be confirmed.