Mthembu, who has endured largely unsuccessful stints across the PSL at clubs such as Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Bloemfontein Celtic, Platinum Stars and Golden Arrows, joined the Citizens after a year-long stay at Free State Stars last season, where he scored just five league goals in 24 appearances across the campaign.
‘Shaka Zulu’, as he is affectionately known, has scored in back-to-back games for City in their recent wins against AmaZulu and Black Leopards, leaving his coach beaming from ear to ear.
“I’m delighted for Shaka,” McCarthy said. “He works hard, and he’s the pivot in our set-up – everything we do as a team, we try to do through Shaka. It’s long overdue that he gets the credit and recognition he deserves because of the professionalism he brings, and as a player, he just puts his head down and works hard, so I’m delighted that the goals are coming.
“We wouldn’t play the kind of football we play if we didn’t have a player like Shaka. The more we focus our play around Shaka, the more goals he’s going to get.”
Mthembu’s highest league goal tally in one season is the six goals he scored in the colours of Platinum Stars in the 2013/14 campaign, and having already netted three for City so far this season, he could be on course for his most successful season yet, with McCarthy jokingly giving himself the credit.
“I think his tally was five last season, so it’ll show that at my young age and tender start as a coach, I’m already a better coach than the coaches who coached him before,” McCarthy said with a wry smile. “He’s already just two goals short of his highest tally [sic] – three more to go, and I’m the best coach Shaka’s had.”