• Why CT City will win the MTN8 final

    Cape Town City

    TFGSoccerClub writer DYLAN APPOLIS takes a look at factors that could play a part in Cape Town City lifting the MTN8 trophy ahead of the final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.

    It’s going to be interesting to see who comes out victorious this time around, having gone Supersport United’s way on penalties in the previous encounter last season. It’s not just about lifting the trophy or R8-million at stake, but also the pride and bragging rights of the winning club.

    Matsatsantsa, who became the only team to have successfully defended the Nedbank Cup, will be looking to once again write their names in the history books by becoming the first team to successfully defend the cup.

    However, in a repeat of last year’s final encounter which saw United beat City 4-2 on penalties in Durban to claim the prize, City coach Benni McCarthy will be eyeing revenge in what could be his first cup success in his short managerial career.

    ‘It’s gonna be a completely different game of football,’ said McCarthy, whose men defeated visiting United 2-0 on the opening day of the 2018-19 Absa Premiership season last month.

    ‘We had them in the first game. I think we dominated. It was one of the best performances from my side. We’ve found a formula on how to beat them, but since they lost against us they have not lost any game. They have gained momentum.

    ‘I think it’s gonna be two awesome teams not afraid to lose. It’s gonna be a good final irrespective of it being a repeat of last season.’

    Patosi finally finding form

    The former Lokeren wing has been struggling to maintain form and fitness, with McCarthy revealing to the public in the past that the player has been leading the wrong lifestyle, which subsequently saw the City management instil disciplinary measures on the player.

    However, Patosi stepped up his game and proven his doubters wrong when he netted a brace to inspire City to come from behind and secure a 2-2 draw at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening.

    Having already scored two goals from seven appearances in all competitions, it is no secret that Patosi is an immensely talented player, but if he can maintain the form which saw him claim the Man of the Match award against the Buccaneers, Patosi could certainly play a crucial role in helping his side claim their maiden MTN8 title on Saturday.

    ‘I think the first goal I scored gave the team the spirit to come and fight for another goal. It was a nice goal – when I get in that area I tell myself I just have to shoot, either left or right and lucky enough it was a goal,’ Patosi said.

    ‘The second goal, it was a set piece and I kick set pieces nicely, and I always try and direct them towards goal, and today it worked.’

    The return of Benni McCarthy

    Benni McCarthy issues instructions to his players

    Benni McCarthy issues instructions to his players

    The MTN8 finalists will be motivated and high in confidence upon McCarthy’s return after missing Wednesday’s thriller at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto. The 40-year-old stayed behind in Cape Town after his wife suffered a collapsed lung before she underwent surgery.

    McCarthy had since given his side the weekend off to rest and will return to work on Monday to begin the week of preparation for the final in Durban on Saturday.

    The Citizens did not play over the past weekend and have taken the opportunity to allow the players to recover and then be able to focus completely on their quest for silverware.

    McCarthy encouraged his players to relax over the weekend and let their bodies recover after a frenetic start to the season.

    Defensive switch-up

    Cape Town City defender Taariq Fielies

    Cape Town City defender Taariq Fielies

    The Citizens will be without key defender Taariq Fielies, who picked up a red card during their 4-1 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs on 15 September, having already sat out one game of the two-match ban.

    However, McCarthy will now be given the chance to freshen up his defence with the likes of  Thamsanqa Mkhize, Kouassi Kouadja, Kwanda Mngonyama and Keanu Cupido at his disposal, but it remains to be seen which combination he will use in the upcoming fixtures.

    ‘Maybe a fresh combination after today’s performances is what is needed, some motivation for whoever gets the nod. That’s why I said we need to change the way we approach because we will have a different pair at the back,’ McCarthy said.

    ‘We have got Keanu Cupido‚ who has done well whenever he has been called upon. Kouassi has also done exceptionally well every time he has been on the pitch.

    ‘We should have enough depth in the squad.’

    Modise still weaving his magic in City’s midfield

    Teko Modise may be 35 years old, but he is still the beating heart of Cape Town City. Based on his impressive performances for the Citizens since joining the club from Mamelodi Sundowns in July 2017, his class and experience may very well play in City’s favour on Saturday.

    With his strength, technical ability that allows him so much time on the ball, ability to string passes to unlock the opposition’s defence and dictate the tempo of the game, there is no doubt that Modise will play an influential role in coach McCarthy’s plans ahead of the final.

    The Nodada factor

    Cape Town City midfielder Thabo Nodada

    Cape Town City midfielder Thabo Nodada

    The return of the dynamic Thabo Nodada should provide the required impetus as Cape Town City prepare to tackle United. The 23-year-old missed City’s 4-1 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs through injury but returned for their clash against Pirates.

    The team struggled without his presence in midfield and with the Citizens in desperate need of some inspiration after a heavy defeat and a draw, coach McCarthy will be hoping Nodada’s energy and enthusiasm will invigorate the team’s performance.

    ‘I struggled with a strain in one of my knee ligaments but belief is the one thing we need, especially against the top three or four teams. We have to believe that we are on the same level or even better than them; we have to assert ourselves and have full trust in each and every teammate. We have to believe in the plan and follow it,’ Nodada said.

    Like Modise, Nodada is the beating heart of the team, and he might be small in stature but his determination to cover every blade of grass on the pitch proves he will not go down without a fight.

    ‘I’ve got a very big heart and I never give up. I hate losing because I’m a competitor. I’m small, so I always have to find better ways to cope during a game, like my speed, my agility, I have to get other advantages. In the end, the ball caters to the man who has the ball, not whether it’s the bigger man or a smaller man.’

    Nodada’s career has been on a steady upward since the arrival of McCarthy as coach a year ago, but the midfielder affectionately known as ‘Kante’ will certainly face a real test of ability and character when they come up against SuperSport on Saturday.

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