City host Free State Stars in a Telkom Knockout semi-final at Athlone Stadium tomorrow (3pm kickoff) and, if the hosts are to emerge victorious, then Manyama is certain to play a major contributing role.
From the very first game of the season, Manyama has been in breathtaking form. Athletic, intelligent and blessed with superb, instinctive touch, the 26-year-old has been the heart and soul of the new Mother City PSL club’s sensational arrival on the football scene.
He’s provided goals, assists and, as the skipper, leadership. In a PSL often characterised by dour defence and compact midfield duels, Manyama’s creative spirit has been a breath of fresh air.
The last few months have been a fairytale for City. Second on the PSL standings but level on points with log-leaders Wits, a MTN8 semi-final earlier in the season and, now, they have another semi-final.
City have also won six games on the trot, but they aren’t taking things for granted for Saturday.
“Cup games are different,” Manyama said. “Stars are last on the PSL log at the moment, but we all know that form means nothing in this competition. You also have to remember that Stars knocked out Wits and Kaizer Chiefs in previous rounds. We will give them the respect they deserve because nothing is easy in the PSL.
“But this is our home game, so we want to control the tempo and we want to go out and attack. At the same time, though, we also know that we have to be cautious. So we will be looking to attack and score when we get opportunities, but we are just as aware that we don’t want to concede.”
As for his role as captain, Manyama doesn’t see it as anything special, rather as just an extension of his job.
They always say the best leaders set high standards for themselves and the rest follow the example. It definitely looks that way at City. Manyama’s excellence is infectious and he is able to drag that little bit extra from his teammates.
“It’s obviously an honour to captain this City squad, but doesn’t affect me in any way,” he said. “I always play the same way, I always try to do my best. For me, it’s never about me, it’s always about the team.”
As City head into Saturday’s crunch game, it’s not just the carrot of making it to a prestigious cup final, but there’s also the incentive of the squad pocketing half of the R4-million prize money on offer for the eventual winners. But even so, Manyama insists that’s not the focus.
“We may have done well so far, but we haven’t really achieved anything,” he said. “It is looking good though, we are heading in the right direction.
“Right from the start, the aim at City, as a new club, has always been to make history and, (tomorrow) against Stars, we want to continue to do so.â”
Telkom Knockout semi-finals
Saturday: Cape Town City v Free State Stars (Athlone Stadium, 3pm); SuperSport United v Orlando Pirates (Mbombela Stadium, 6pm)
Original source: It’s all about the team for City’s Manyama