If anything, there were signs that all was not well with Cape Town City and their former coach, Benni McCarthy.
The former Bafana Bafana striker has been relieved of his duties. He was in his third season with the Citizens, following his arrival ahead of the 2017/18 Absa Premiership campaign.
The first season appeared to have gone well for City with a fifth place finish and followed it up with the MTN8 title last year by beating SuperSport United.
This made up for their MTN8 final defeat to the same SuperSport United in 2017.
If there’s one thing you cannot take away from McCarthy is his love for his players.
Many pictures, including the one with Thabo Nodada here, paint an image of coach who appreciated his players, which could be argued translated to good results in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 campaigns.
Testament to a good relationship he shared with the players, striker Kermit Erasmus has already wished McCarthy well for the future.
“Thank you for everything you have done for me to help me improve and be better every day.
“I loved playing under you as my coach and I will miss you a lot. I hope I will get the opportunity again. You will always be someone I look up to,” Erasmus is quoted as saying by Kick Off.
Of course City have also bought well in terms of players, so they have quality in their ranks.
This season, however, the wheels have come off…
The results weren’t forthcoming and in 11 matches across all competitions, City suffered five defeats, played to five draws and boast a single win, which came against Stellenbosch in their first Absa Premiership match of the season.
However, probably the biggest factor in McCarthy’s departure was due to a break down of his relationship with club boss, John Comitis.
From the beginning of the 2019/2020 season, there appeared to be trouble between the two.
In September, McCarthy was seemingly irritated that the club wasn’t moving fast enough to sign Mark Mayambela, who was training with the club at the time.
Comitis had implied that the club didn’t need Mayambela, because they were covered in the forward’s position.
McCarthy responded: “I’m a big fan of the player – I know him as a teammate, but not only because of that, but because I know the qualities that he possesses. I saw an article that says the chairman has made up his mind, so there is not much my empty words can do.
“The chairman is the one – it’s his club, it’s his money, so he makes the decisions. I’m just here to coach the team. If I get him [Mayambela], I get him, but it’s out of my hands. Ask the money man. I’m just here to try and make the players better.”
In the end, McCarthy got his wish when Mayambela put pen to paper.
There was also an issue with Comitis not keen to re-sign Robyn Johannes, who ended up at Stellenbosch. McCarthy felt City needed a central defender after injuries to players such as Taariq Fielies.
Speaking to FARPost.co.za, Comitis denied there were any clashes with McCarthy over transfers.
“There is no player that comes to the club without Benni’s knowledge.
“We have a weekly meeting here with Benni – we discuss players, we watch video footage of the players and look at the statistics,” said Comitis.
In the same interview, Comitis said he was in fact looking to tie down McCarthy to a new contract before Christmas despite the team’s struggles.
It would appear therefore that the results weren’t the only factor in City letting McCarthy go considering City were even keen on a new deal.
It could very well be that the relationship between the owner and coach may have been strained, leading to McCarthy’s exit.
By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa