McCarthy explains skipper's omission

Johannes had featured in all but one of City’s 13 games across all competitions so far this season, yet had to settle for a place on the bench before coming on as a late substitute as the Citizens scraped past Ea Lla Koto 1-0 to register their first victory in five games.

Thsepo Gumede and Taariq Fielies were preferred as the starting centre-back pairing, with McCarthy explaining the decision to leave the club captain out.

“Robyn gives his heart and soul, but as I coach I have to make certain decisions,” McCarthy said. “I am going to need him for the duration of the season, and we have to manage him. Against Chippa United [in the previous league game] he received a knock, and then when we travelled to Baroka [for the TKO] in the bus, his ankle was massively swollen up.

“But because he’s the captain and wants to lead by example, and with the situation the team was in, he wanted to play and give that extra push, and that’s why he didn’t have one of his best games. It was probably the worst game I’ve seen him play.

“I had to think if I had to be selfish and risk him for longer periods, or do I give continuity to Gumede and bring Taariq in? I went with the latter.

“So it was just about managing Robyn and wanting him to be 100% fit for the duration of the season, instead of just for now. And we with the state of the pitch, we had to be cautious as well.”

McCarthy reserved praise for stand-in captain Thamsanqa Mkhize, while also hailing the efforts of man-of-the-match Ibrahim Seedat and veteran Teko Modise.

“Mkhize, who was named captain, was unbelievable and controlled that right-back position,” McCarthy purred. “Seedat as well – he had [Sinethemba] Jantjie in his pocket, and I was very happy with that.

“I was also pleased to see Teko taking a massive commanding role. He was instrumental with his passing.”

City next face Baroka FC in a league encounter following the international break on 22 November.