Benni exercising care with Rantie's return
Posted: 16 September 2018 Time: 13:00
Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy says he will not throw new signing Tokelo Rantie to the wolves, as he empathises with his delicate personal circumstances.
Rantie was on the verge of quitting football just a few weeks ago, as he retreated to his farm in the Free State following his departure from Turkish side Gençlerbirligi towards the end of last year.
However, he has since been given a fresh start with The Citizens coach having shown faith in the Bafana Bafana forward’s ability, after they played together at Orlando Pirates some years back.
The 28-year-old has been on a downward spiral in his career since departing English Premier League side Bournemouth In 2016, and has picked up a good couple of extra kilograms since.
McCarthy, though, says Rantie is now on the mend and is extremely impressed with the burly striker’s attitude since his arrival at the Mother City outfit.
“TK’s mindset now is that he’s free and you can see that he’s got his passion and that love for playing football again, and he’s found himself a home because the players make him feel like he’s already been at the club since it was started,” said McCarthy.
“So, he’s in his element and he’s enjoying life again, and that’s the plus side. Plus he’s willing to put in the work, which is even a much better factor [about him].
“He’s not a player who shies away when you say he’s got to put in two shifts or two training sessions and mopes and says, ‘Ja, but coach, this or that.’
“He’s asking the fitness coach to take him to gym for afternoon sessions, and that kind of determination is what we need and what we desire.
“So I know his road to recovery will probably be quicker than most people expect, and when he hits the ground running he’ll be the force that we know and used to see in Bafana.”
The Stars of Africa academy product has reportedly had troubles in his personal life back home, which was the reason for his premature exit from Turkey, but McCarthy says he knows exactly what he’s going through and stresses he will not rush his return to the pitch.
“It’s too soon [to play him] because if it was just a weight story then, yeah [ he would start playing] – I know what it’s like when you’re trying to get back to your best and rid yourself of that extra baggage you’re carrying and play,” he added.
“He’s got the ability and the football brain, but it’s unfortunate that he hasn’t played or been involved in competitive football for more than six months.
“That’s something else, he’s still rusty and I don’t want fans to get on his back because, maybe we’re thinking that it’s doing him good to get game-time, but the public don’t see it that way.
“They see you as a professional footballer and this is your job, you should be 100 percent fit and ready to play matches. And they don’t want to understand what he’s been through or why he’s off the pace. We’ve signed him so he must play, but I can’t do that to the boy.”