Goal takes a look at what the legendary South African striker must have learnt from his first Caf campaign as a coach
It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for South African clubs in continental competitions where Bidvest Wits, Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United and Cape Town City honoured their assignments last weekend.
SuperSport and City were involved in Caf Confederation Cup whilst Sundowns and Wits were busy with Champions League.
Amatsantsantsa A Pitori emerged as visitors via a 2-1 aggregate win to secure a spot in the play-offs ahead of the group stages whilst the Clever Boys lost on penalties to Primeiro De Agosto of Angola and were demoted to the Confederation Cup.
For the Brazilians, they managed to bounce back from their 0-0 draw in Rwanda and sealed their spot in the group stages beating Rayon Sports 2-0.
However, the focus is on the Mother City where Benni McCarthy’s men exited the competition after a 2-2 draw in the second leg, but lost to Costa Do Sol on away goal rule.
We look at what led to the Citizens’ disappointing exit as they were tipped to become one of the teams with chances of making it big.
Having started their campaign on a high note with wins over Swaziland’s Young Buffaloes on two occasions and a first leg victory against Do Sol, City were confident of finishing the job on Sunday.
However, a 2-1 loss at home ended their run and I am tempted to say City were complacent in their approach towards this clash.
Yes, they were confident of a win as they came from three out of three wins plus beating Orlando Pirates in their domestic campaign, yet their fighting spirit left a lot to be desired.
The other factor is the team selection, Teko Modise was not available, Roland Putsche, Thamsanqa Mkhize and Sage Stephens did not start as they were benched.
With the exception of Modise, McCarthy should have started with a formidable line-up including the trio then give them a rest when they are home and dry – this could have contributed in the loss.
Secondly, City seems to have issues upfront when it comes to converting their chances and that was going to give them problems in one way or the other.
In all their three wins on the trot, they have not scored more than twice and we also looked at the Premier Soccer League campaign where they are also struggling with goals.
The technical team will have to address this issue as soon as possible because in continental tournaments, goals will help whether you are playing at home or away.
In this case, their failure to score at least two or three goals in the first leg in Maputo made it easy for Do Sol to bounce back and turn the tie on its head.
Thirdly, I can perhaps say planning for this tournament was not the best by the Mother City as the availability of players would suggest.
The departure of Lehlohonolo Majoro to the PSL champions, Lebogang Manyama and Aubrey Ngoma seems to have badly hurt the club.
The trio were key players for City last season and had goals or assists in them, but since they left, the goals have dried up a bit.
Yes the signing of Matthew Rusike, Bradley Ralani and Ayanda Patosi (who was benched on Sunday) are fantastic signings, but they are not yet settled and Rusike is not registered for Caf.
In my perspective, the club should have scouted for replacements on time and ensure they are registered to meet the Caf registration deadlines.
The fourth point is that with a spot in the lucrative group stage up for grabs, McCarthy should have expected that teams were going to fight for their lives.
Beating Do Sol 1-0 on Mozambican was not convincing and looking at the travelling for the Mozambicans, it was not a long distance to Cape Town in what McCarthy could have counted on that as his advantage.
We all know that reaching the group stages is financially rewarding to the clubs, players and to the supporters because it is all about bragging rights and making history.
These rewards mean clubs will definitely give their all regardless of where the game is played and a simple example was how Rayon gave Sundowns a run for their home, the fact that the game was played in Tshwane did not bother the Rwandans.
McCarthy is inexperienced and in his maiden season as head coach, he was bound to make errors and he will become better as a player manager.
To wrap it up with my fifth point, I also think it was erratic for the club to allow McCarthy to take over the reins or planning ahead of the match.
I think his assistant coach, Vasili Manousakis (who was in charge of the first leg), should have been in charge of the match because he is aware of what the Mozambicans were able to offer, their threats and weaknesses.
You will remember McCarthy was not available in the first leg after going to attend his coaching classes in England.
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Allowing the former striker to select the team and come up with match tactics was detrimental in my opinion, perhaps Benni saw the 1-0 first leg win and said we can win it at home, but I believe Manousakis would have had a different view on the Mozambican club.
I may be wrong to think of this as one of the factors for their exit, but I think Benni could have allowed his right hand man to be in charge and complete the task Manousakis started in the two-legged affair.
I can imagine how City fans feel right now, but football is about winning and losing and there will be an opportunity next season as long as there is proper planning, the Citizens will rise again.