Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football writer
3 minute read
11 Oct 2017
11:30 am

Europe the ultimate for City star Nodada

Sibongiseni Gumbi

Working with Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy has rekindled Thabo Nodada's dream of playing overseas.

Thabo Nodada of Cape Town City (Chris Ricco/BackpagePix)

“When you have a dream and are not close to people who have achieved it, it tends to burn out … you gradually stop thinking about it so much. But working with Benni has revived it for me. I look at him and I know I have to emulate what he has done. And it is good that he always tells me what I need to do to get it right,” he says.

Having spent more time in the doctor’s rooms nursing injuries than on the field last season, Nodada hopes to avoid such problems and get more game time this time around so he can attract attention from the national coach.

“I was frustrated by injuries last season and my aim was getting as much game time as possible. I want to win a trophy and get into the national team set-up somehow,” he says.

Nodada has played under three different coaches in three years and was part of the team who were carried over when John Comitis bought Mpumalanga Black Aces’ status and formed City.

“The move was made easier in that we have most of the guys we had when we were based in Gauteng with Aces,” he says. “I have improved. I have learnt different ways of playing from the different coaches. With Muhsin (Ertugral at Aces) it was more about possession and control of the ball.

“Last season with (Eric) Tinkler it was transition and counter-attacking and this year it is different as it is more high- tempo with Benni. Piece by piece I am making it work,” he says.

Nodada’s style of play can be likened to that of Andile Jali and he says it is perhaps because they come from the same region in KwaZulu-Natal’s south coast.

He says his belief is that when you get on the field you have to give all you have and credits his team-mates for trusting his ability.

“With us if you put in the work, you get a chance. It is not about age. The coaches look at all the players the same way.

“The faith from my team-mates and coaches has helped. If people around you believe in you it gives you confidence.”

Nodada is not upset that he has not yet got the nod from Bafana coach Stuart Baxter and sees this as a challenge for him to work even harder.

“I think when the right time comes, he will call me. I can’t be sad that I have not been called. I just have to keep working hard and doing my job the best way I know how here at City,” he says.

With the MTN8 final in Durban next on City’s radar, Nodada says they have not adopted any special plan for the game as their preparations intensify.

“It’s a final and we can’t help but get excited,” he says. “But we are taking everything like we normally do, but come match day we will be ready and we want to win this trophy.

“It was easier last season because we were a surprise package – there was not much expectation on us. But with Benni coming in and the signings we made, it has attracted a lot of interest and grown our support so we have more people we play for now,” he says.

He says City will manage with the added pressure because of the experienced campaigners they have in their ranks.

“We have a lot of experienced campaigners. We have guys who have played in top leagues in Europe and some have played in the biggest teams locally. They are always encouraging us to work hard all the time.”