Kobola backs Benni ahead of Absa Premiership showdown

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Maritzburg United assistant Vincent Kobola has backed former coach Benni McCarthy to turn the tables at Cape Town City ahead of their Absa Premiership showdown in the Mother City on Friday.

The Citizens have endured a troubled season so far, winning just one out of their opening eight matches.

It has prompted speculation in the media that there is growing tension between McCarthy and his boss John Comitis, although the club chairman has played that down. Kobola has no doubt that McCarthy is the man to lead City out of their troubles.

City’s difficult start to 2019/20 has left them in 10th position on the table, one spot above Maritzburg, who had an even tougher start before eventually turning the corner in their last two league games.

Wins over Chippa United and Baroka FC have left them level on eight points with the Citizens.

Kobola, who spent two seasons at the Cape Town side before ending his career and moving into management, says he feels for his ex-club.

A penalty shoot-out win by Maritzburg against Bidvest Wits last Friday means the Team of Choice have now won three games on the bounce.

Those results have finally lit the light on what had been a gloomy season and they are now a happy bunch heading into the league clash with City.

Eric Tinkler’s team were further bolstered by a good quarter-final cup draw on Tuesday – they were tied together at home to Highlands Park – and Kobola says they players are desperate to maintain their current run.

The results have also eased the strain on Kobola’s boss Tinkler, who appeared to be extremely uneasy in the opening weeks of the season when results were not forthcoming.

Speaking after the win over Wits last week, the former Orlando Pirates, Cape Town City and SuperSport United coach admitted that winning games was all that mattered for his side.

Tinkler also acknowledged that good results were key to instilling confidence in his players.

Maritzburg have just one confirmed absentee for the game with on-loan Wits midfielder Phumlani Ntshangase on the long-term injury list. Micah Lea’alafa faces a late fitness test. – Report by Thahir Asmal