Despite the horrible start to the current Premier Soccer League season, former Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy’s record at the club remains commendable.
The Citizens confirmed the departure of the 41-year-old yesterday after a 9-match winless streak in all competitions, leaving them at position 13 on the Absa Premiership log.
McCarthy did not only win his first trophy as head coach when they won the 2018 MTN8, but he also helped City to their best finish (4th) in the league last season, 11 points behind Champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
City also scored the most number of goals in the same season, with 47.
McCarthy’s Stats in all Competitions:
Competition Games Wins Draws Defeats
Absa Premiership 69 25 21 23
MTN 8 9 7 – 2
Telkom Knockout 3 – – 3
Nedbank Cup 6 4 – 2
Confederations Cup 4 3 – 1
Overall 91 39 21 31
The current form was the downfall for the former Ajax Amsterdam striker having the worse defensive record in the league (with 15 goals conceded in nine matches), though they are the 3rd best team in terms of scoring goals, with 13.
City have conceded a goal in 8 of their 9 matches this season except in their match against neighbours Stellenbosch FC.
The club has appointed assistant coach Vasili Manousakis as caretaker coach and will be in charge when they take on Polokwane City on Wednesday.
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.
FARPost.co.zahas been informed that former AmaZulu coach Cavin Johnson is being considered by Cape Town City to take over as head coach.
This follows the sacking of Benni McCarthy by the Citizens last night, after a run of just 2 wins in their last 18 matches.
According to our sources, Cape Town City boss John Comitis is not wasting any time in finding McCarthy’s replacement.
Johnson, who was sacked by AmaZulu in September, may find another home with the Mother City outfit.
However, Johnson is not the only one in the running.
Muhsin Ertugral is also being linked with the job.
Meanwhile, McCarthy has expressed his disappointment at losing the job.
“I’m disappointed to end my time at the Club but I would like to nevertheless thank the Club,& particularly the players, the fans and the community of Cape Town for their support and commitment over the last two years. I’m proud of my time at the Club and wish them all the best,” McCarthy tweeted from his official account on Monday morning.
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) prosecutor has instituted charges against Cape Town City and their player Mpho Makola.
“Mr. Makola has been charged with misconduct and assault after he allegedly assaulted match official Abongile Tom during the Telkom Knockout fixture between Cape Town and Kaizer Chiefs on 19 October 2019 at Cape Town Stadium.
“Mr. Makola and Cape Town City will appear before the PSL Disciplinary Committee on 14 November 2019,” said the League in a statement.
Cape Town City boss John Comitis has exclusively told FARPost.co.za that the club will be making a new defensive acquisition in the coming week.
The Citizens have already conceded 15 League goals so far this season after just 9 Absa Premiership games, and that is almost half of the 35 League goals they conceded in 30 games last season.
With injuries to key defenders like Tariq Fielies, who has since returned to action and Kouassi Kouadja and Abbubaker Mobara, that has added more pressure to the club’s defensive line which at times saw left back Edmilson Dove being slotted in at centre back.
“Subsequently, we now had to re-assess our centre back and defensive positions, and we have. We’ve made another acquisition that will be announced in this coming week from Europe, an experienced centre back so we are on it,” said Comitis.
City, meanwhile, were heavily linked with the re-signing of former club captain Robyn Johannes during the transfer period, but the club decided against signing the veteran defender, and Comitis has since explained why the club decided against the signing.
“We have a weekly meeting here with (coach) Benni (McCarthy) – we discuss players, watch the video footage of the players and we look at the statistics,” he said.
“Sometimes we watch a player for 3 or 4 weeks before we make a decision. The fact that Benni wanted us to get Robyn Johannes, yes that was a fact, but there were other factors in the mix that didn’t make it possible for us to sign Johannes, and that’s also financial issues.
“Also the length of contract which we had to consider, considering the age of the player (Johannes is now 33).
Comitis is convinced that the club didn’t make a bad decision by not re-signing the centre back.
“He’s now at Stellenbosch and playing as central midfielder, perhaps we didn’t make a mistake,” added Comitis.
Cape Town City Boss John Comitis says the club is looking to tie down head coach Benni McCarthy to a long-term contract before the Christmas break.
“I think I’ve made it clear that I’m trying to get Benni to stay here for longer. I don’t think I’ve minced my words about that,” Comitis told FARPost.co.za.
“To be fair to him and ourselves, we’ve kind of set a target for around Christmas, so by then we wanna know where we are going with him and I’m sure he also wants to know where he’s going as well. At the end of the day it is a performance driven business,” said Comitis, who was speaking to us before City suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Maritzburg United at Cape Town Stadium on Friday night.
The Mother City club has gone nine matches without a win across all competitions and to make matters worse, they were knocked out in the early rounds of the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout.
At the time of writing, they were 12th on the log.
“But sometimes you have to understand the environment and be reasonable because historically 60-70% of coaching changes lead to things getting worse, not better,” he said.
“So for me this is not about just moving to the next coach, Benni is a project for me and we cannot afford to allow Benni McCarthy to fail and he can’t afford it for himself and the country can’t afford it. We believe in him in the longer term,” stated Comitis.
“Look, obviously when you start the season you prepare your financial plan, you never plan to win cup games. But with the kind of quality squad that we have, it’s obviously really dissapointing. Because you know, we’ve mastered the cups in the last three seasons, we’ve won two and we were also in another final and lost. So it’s been dissapointing because they’ve come and gone in the first round and that is not typically what we’d like to see as Cape Town City.
“… I can arguably say this is probably been the best squad that I’ve assembled within the four years (since buying Mpumalanga Black Aces). So it pertubes me that we’re not getting what we deserve. And if you look at the kind of games that we’ve drawn, I think every single one of them we were ahead and it was ours to lose.
“But looking at that, it all shows me that we are on the right track.”
It has, however, been widely reported in the media that McCarthy and Comitis have had a lot of disagreements especially on transfer matters, but Comitis insisted that all is well.
“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,” Comitis explained.