The last time Cape Town City were involved in a penalty shootout, their coach Benni McCarthy almost burst as his nerves got the better of him.
But it ended well for him on the day as his team beat Mamelodi Sundowns to advance to the MTN8 final, where they meet SuperSport United at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban tomorrow evening.
This time however McCarthy has urged his team to avoid going to a penalty shootout. The 40-year-old mentor will be back in the dugout after missing their last Absa Premiership matches against Orlando Pirates as his wife was in hospital.
“He has been back since Sunday,” said McCarthy’s assistant Vasili Manousakis said yesterday. “We have been pushing the limits to ensure that we are ready. It will be great to have the coach back on the dugout. His wife is now out of the hospital and recovering well at home,” he added.
“We did practise penalties. We went to penalties against Sundowns and we scored four and Peter (Leeuwenburgh) saved two. But the coach’s nerves cannot take the penalty shootout again and that is why we will try to finish the business in the 90 minutes,” said Manousakis.
He refuted that City will be looking to get some revenge after Matsatsantsa a Pitori pipped them on penalties in the same competition last year.
“It’s nice to speak about revenge and it being a grudge match … but we don’t see it that way. We just want to win a trophy. The head coach is raring to get his first trophy. Some of the players who were in the team last time want to make amends but that doesn’t mean we are out for revenge.”
Manousakis also revealed that Tokelo Rantie was set to undergo a late fitness test last night to determine if he was ready to play.
“It is still touch and go with him. He has not played in a long time. He has been on a special conditioning programme. It is a pity because he would be a big influence if he were to be available. The coach will make the final call on him,” he said.