Ayanda Patosi has lauded Benni McCarthy after their volatile relationship at Cape Town City and admits he thought the PSL would have been easy after seven years in Europe.
Patosi, 27, is currently on loan in the Iranian Pro League with Foolad from City, where he enjoyed a season and a half under the mentorship of McCarthy.
Having arrived for his first stint in South African football after seven years in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League with Lokeren, Patosi found himself on the fringes of the first-team squad after a run-in with the Bafana Bafana legend.
But after finding common ground, he went on to become one of the leading performers in the Absa Premiership before returning abroad in January 2019.
Speaking to Safja, the 12-time capped South Africa international concedes he didn't see eye to eye with the former UEFA Champions League winner but quickly realised it was at fault for their indifferences.
"I was not a friend of his, in the beginning, I didn't work well with him. But before I knew Benni from Belgium, he was an assistant coach in one team when I was playing that side," Patosi explained.
"So we came together at Cape Town City, I thought PSL would be easy. I didn't work [hard], I didn't give him the confidence for him to say that he has a player he can believe and trust that can win games.
"I was not focused on football, I was starting to hang out with friends, I didn't realise Benni was doing all that to help me become a better player. I didn't understand what Benni wanted to do with me but I began to realise when I sat back and spoke to him and to Mr John [Comitis]."
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He continued: "I realised he wanted the best out of me in the end and I'm not in Cape Town for holidays. I'm here to work, playing for Cape Town City doesn't mean I'm on holiday, I can't just do what I want and expect to perform well on the field.
"So I went to Eastern Cape and I came back and we talked about it and I started doing my job, worked hard and we, in the end, we were fine and worked well very well."
The technically gifted playmaker went on to discuss McCarthy's managerial style which he credits as the main factor to their consistency during his time at the club.
"He's a coach who doesn't give s sh** if you are a star or a big player or something, he treats everyone in the dressing room the same," the two-time Belgian Cup winner said.
"Off the field, he's nice and everything, but when you get to the dressing room it's a different story. I think that it was of things that pushed the guys. I think we saw that with Zukile Kewuti when he broke in.
"It doesn't matter if you are Ayanda Patosi or Teko Modise or someone - if a young player comes and works hard and puts a hand on coach Benni, he doesn't care.
"He will play that player and put you on the bench. I think that worked for us, we all worked hard for him - we got results with him."