BENNY McCARTHY admits he is as nervous as he has ever been before a football game as he awaits his managerial debut on Saturday when Cape Town City take on Polokwane City in the quarter-final of the MTN8.
City are home at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick off) but McCarthy says his side are ready to prove last season’s heroics were no fluke.
“I’m really nervous‚” he said on Tuesday.
“It’s a massive step for me now that I’m in charge but I couldn’t have gone into battle for my first game with a better bunch of guys. They have been superb.
“Super professional‚ very helpful and willing to learn.
“They have made my job just that little bit easier because they are disciplined‚ there are no big egos in the team. I didn’t have to have any one-on-ones where I needed to put players in their place.
“I’m a tough cookie‚ a tough character and you all know footballers have egos but this team have been so good.
“Maybe a little too nice for my liking! It scares me a little bit … these silent assassins!
“I’m looking forward to Saturday because the guys all want to replicate last season’s success. They don’t want to people to call them‚ ‘one hit wonders’.
“They have got something to prove which is perfect for me because I can rely on their eagerness to prove themselves again in their second year in the league.”
Under Eric Tinkler last season‚ City’s maiden campaign saw them take the Telkom Knockout and finish third in the league.
McCarthy takes over‚ after Tinkler’s departure to SuperSport United‚ having had no previous experience as a head coach but he adds he knows what he wants from the side tactically.
“Last season the team relied a lot on catching teams on the counter but I want something a little different. I want us to put teams under pressure and so I like a lot of high pressing.
“But if you do it‚ you have to do it properly. That’s mostly what we have been working on in training. It’s been about high pressing‚ putting teams on the back foot instead of us being on the back foot all the time.
“We don’t want to just rely on counter attacks. We want a different strategy‚ not to let our opponents have a chance to settle. That’s what we hope to try and do different.”
McCarthy said he had felt that the pre-season had dragged out.
“I was frustrated. It felt like the MTN8 was never coming and now Saturday can’t come quicker. I just want the butterflies to go away now and start living a normal life.
“Not feel like I need to go to the toilet every 10 minutes. I just want to get Saturday out the way so we can all get settled and the players can get used to playing under me.”
McCarthy – regarded as one of the South Africa’s greatest ever footballers – is the only rookie coach among the eight on the weekend as the season gets underway with the MTN8.
Other MTN8 fixtures:
Wits vs Golden Arrows- Bidvest Stadium. 8pm
Cape Town City vs Polokwane City- Cape Town Stadium. 3pm
Kaizer Chiefs vs SuperSport United- Moses Mabhida Stadium. 20:15
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Maritzburg United- Lucas Moripe Stadium. 3pm