How Cape Town City dazzled under Benni McCarthy


During this tough and delicate period of the Covid-19 pandemic that has ravaged the whole world and left thousands of families and communities devastated, we join the call of World Health Organization and international leaders for solid social distancing, adherence to specific hygiene and usage of mask in public interactions.

It is for this reason that the FARPost Technical Study Group, whilst supporting the call for staying at home, remembers the Cape Town City mesmerizing football under Benni.

1. City’s Creative and Attacking platform

CTC played a fluid, open and flexible attacking football, guided by a solid 1-4-3-3 system.

Benni McCarthy with Thabo Nodada.

Build-up was controlled by 2 Holding Central Midfield depending on the (Roland Putsche, Abbubaker Mobara, Thabo Nodada, pictured above & Thato Mokeke), either one dropping into the midfield inner space to initiate attack and look at possibilities to link up play.

The 2 fullbacks remain high up and create a vertical width to open up possibilities for diagonal balls and extended-side (wide) interplay.

On fulcrum of the midfield diamond was a clever mobile and efficient No10 assigned to either Nodada or Mpho Makola depending on the opposition. The role of the No10 was to play between the lines, link-up the midfield intermediate entry, join and support the attacking 3 front players.

The wide midfielders (wingers) in the attack either stayed in and out of the wing position, but with delicate freedom to encroach in the half-spaces, link-up in the central midfield corridor and use their potent individual skills in 1v1 attack moments to unlock attacking possibilities.

The top striker (Kermit Erasmus or Siphelele Mthembu) had different attributes but tactically understood Benni’s insistence of flexible position ( i.e understanding the timing to drop deep, play on the shoulders of defenders, breaking the line and lateral movements to the sides).

Overall, CTC embarked on a fresh enthusiastic attacking system that resonated well with a young and brave manager who was well developed in the Ajax system from Cape Town to Amsterdam.

2. Defensive Mentality

City’s defensive mentality had evolved over the 2 seasons during Benni’s tenure, and had relied on the 3 main strategies:

2.1 Frontal Pressing

Both Erasmus and Mthembu possess the physical-tactical requirements for pressing and duly obliged to apply a full frontal and provocative pressing when required.

This pressing form allowed City to set pressing traps and ensured the front 3 and the midfield could win the ball high up.

2.2 Narrow compact midfield block

Tactically shifting from outside to inside of the wide wingers and the narrow block in the midfield centre characterized the City approach.

Opposition were forced to play outside and the central block was dominant in the second phase of ball recovery.

2.3 Deep seated defensive line

After losing 1-2 to Kaizer Chiefs in the
Mother City, Pitso Mosimane’s Mamelodi Sundowns faced a resolute, tricky and counter-attacking City in Pretoria.

City dropped deep and set-up a thirst quenching counterattack traps for the Brazilians and eventually conjured up a credible draw.

In conclusion, Benni and his City team proved once again how teams with a proven Football Philosophy that is crafted by the local technicians and fused with relevant applicable traits from other football playing could deliver a product that is worthy enough to bring back our pride and supporters.

McCarthy guided the Citizens to MTN8 success during his time with the club, from June 2017 – November 2019.

RELATED STORY: Legend of the week: Benni McCarthy

By FARPost Reporters

Pictures courtesy of Cape Town City

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