Johannes: Citizens 'braced for war'

The former Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns defender has been one of the Cape club’s pillars in defence since their relocation to the Mother City last season, having previously spent time with AmaZulu in the National Fist Division.

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The Citizens ended their debut campaign as Telkom Knockout champions and third-placed finishers in the league and started the 2017/18 season on a positive note when they dispatched Polokwane City in the MTN8 to advance to the semi-finals, where they will do battle with the Clever Boys over two legs.

And, the 32-year-old Cape Town-born defender says they’re expecting a stern test against the reigning league champions and know they will have to bring their A-game to get the better of Gavin Hunt’s charges.

“Wits will undoubtedly be a huge obstacle for us,” Johannes tells KickOff.com. “They’re a top team with a top coach that is difficult to beat, wherever you play them.

“The amount of quality, experience and depth they possess is fantastic. But, if you want to be the best then you’ll have to beat the best. That’s why we’re bracing ourselves for war when we meet Wits on Friday.”

According to Johannes, City’s players are starting to buy into the tactics of new coach Benni McCarthy, who took over the reins from Eric Tinkler after his departure to SuperSport United.

“He [McCarthy] has a clear brand of football he wants us to play,” Johannes further states. “It’s evident on the training ground that the players are liking the styles and philosophy of the coach and we’re behind him 100 percent. It’s still early days and it will take some time for us to perfect everything.”

Johannes also put on a solid display in their MTN8 victory over Rise and Shine last weekend, marshalling City’s defence with aplomb.

With regards to his personal performance, Johannes adds: “Honestly speaking, I feel a bit rusty in terms of game time but that’s nothing to be alarmed by. I feel very good and positive for the season ahead.

“We’re eager to build on last season’s success and to show that we’re not one-hit wonders. The players are out to show we’re a team that are hungry for success and that last season’s achievements were no fluke.”

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