It is more of a headache now than any battle with nerves for rookie coach Benni McCarthy as he readies his Cape Town City teammates to take on SuperSport United in Saturday’s MTN8 final at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban.
“I have already been having been headaches now‚ in the last couple of days‚ because we’ve got more than 18‚” McCarthy said at City’s pre-final press conference in Cape Town on Wednesday.
“And so‚ to just even select the 18 for this final is a problem and some people are going to be disappointed. It’s rightfully so.
“I’m having difficulty choosing 18 players‚ let alone the 11 players who deserve to go on that pitch‚ who deserved to wear that shirt and fight for their teammates‚ the fans and the club owners.
“Hopefully come Friday I’m able to make good and positive decisions. The players have stepped up the intensity quite a lot today in training. It’s good that they’re fighting for places‚ and keep each other on their toes.”
Much mire of the dilemma for the former Bafana Bafana star is not the prospect of his first final as a coach but rather who to pick and who to leave out.
McCarthy portrayed an air of calmness as he met with the media two days before departing for Durban and three before the big game on Saturday night.
He said the break for international football over the last fortnight had been too long.
“But I guess the guys got to bond a little more. We trained and tried to focus on the final.
“We prepared OK – the guys don’t seem too nervous about it‚ which is probably going to help come Saturday.”
McCarthy said there were also no nerves on his part yet.
“I guess when it gets to Friday it will start to hit me. It’s a game of football‚ final or no final. I think in the end you just want to continue with what you are doing.
“And that’s to play well‚ work as hard as you can and obviously don’t make it easy for the opposition. And hopefully we can continue the good run that we are on … and if we win‚ even better.”
Cape Town City’s coach expects the final to be a tense affair.
“Obviously they are very disciplined‚ very organised. That’s what (SuperSport coach) Eric (Tinkler) has instilled in them‚” McCarthy said of opponents.
“His organisation is very good. So it’s going to be very difficult because they are organised but I think we’ve played teams that have been as organised before and as good‚ if not maybe a little better.
“So I think we are able to deal with that and I think we can take a lot from what we learnt from the Wits games (wins in the league‚ and over the two legs of the MTN semifinals) because they are a team who are similarly equipped‚ with strength and depth in their side.
“We need to focus like we did against Wits and then we should be OK. If so‚ it’s going to be an entertaining and an interesting final‚” the former FC Porto and Bolackburn striker predicted.