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Benni McCarthy and Gavin Hunt rave about City winger Craig Martin

26 February 2018 - 15:35 By Nick Said
Cape Town City midfielder Craig Martin in action during the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round, second leg against Young Buffaloes at Athlone Stadium, 20 February 2018.
Cape Town City midfielder Craig Martin in action during the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round, second leg against Young Buffaloes at Athlone Stadium, 20 February 2018.
Image: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Cape Town City winger Craig Martin was described as “unbelievable” and a “revelation” by both coaches following his performance in his side’s 2-1 Absa Premiership loss to BidVest Wits on Saturday night.

The winger‚ arguably the quickest player in the domestic game‚ was a constant thorn for the Wits defenders and also netted a fine equaliser as he blasted the ball home with his less fancied left foot.

Such was the high regard for him‚ it was clear he was targeted by the Wits players‚ with Edwin Gyimah and Keegan Ritchie both putting in massive challenges on the slightly-built Martin inside the opening five minutes‚ which earned the latter a rare early yellow card.

“Craig Martin was again unbelievable operating on the right flank‚” says McCarthy‚ who plucked the Kensington-born star from obscurity this season to give him his shot in the South African top-flight.

It was a sentiment echoed by Wits coach Gavin Hunt‚ who says the player has been one of the stand-out performers in the Absa Premiership this campaign.

“This boy Martin for me has been a revelation this year. I’ve watched him‚ he has got energy in abundance‚” Hunt said.

“You look at his age [24] and you have to say‚ where has he been? There must be millions of players like that.”

McCarthy was irked by the way Wits targeted his player and says better protection from referees is needed.

“As much as I applaud the referee today [Kulasande Qongqo]‚ Gyimah was so rash.

"I don’t care what minute of the game it is‚ if somebody makes a tackle that can end somebody’s career‚ whether it is the first minute‚ 90th minute or 31st minute … I don’t care.”

Martin hails from the same area of Cape Town as the likes of Granwald Scott and Riyaad Norodien‚ and also spent some time in the Hellenic Academy‚ before being spotted by former City assistant coach Ian Taylor‚ who urged McCarthy to take a closer look at him.

Initially labelled a right wing-back when the team announced his signature at the start of the campaign‚ he has only been used as an out and out winger‚ with his blistering pace a real asset to the team.

His goal against Wits was his third of the season having also endeared himself to City fans with the winner against bitter local rivals Ajax Cape Town in January.

Martin could next be in action when City travel to Baroka FC on Tuesday night‚ having scored in the home fixture between the two earlier in the campaign.


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