It is more of a headache now than any battle with nerves for rookie coach Benni McCarthy as he prepares his Cape Town City team to take on SuperSport United in Saturday’s MTN8 final at the Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban.
Much more of an anxiety for the former Bafana Bafana star is not the prospect of his first final as a coach, but rather who to pick and who to leave out.
"I have already been having headaches now in the last couple of days because we’ve got more than 18‚" McCarthy said at City’s prefinal media conference in Cape Town.
"And so‚ to just even select the 18 for this final is a problem and some people are going to be disappointed. It’s rightfully so.
"I’m having difficulty choosing 18 players‚ let alone the 11 players who deserve to go on that pitch‚ who deserve to wear that shirt and fight for their teammates‚ the fans and the club owners," he said.
"Hopefully come Friday I’m able to make good and positive decisions. The players have stepped up the intensity quite a lot today in training. It’s good that they’re fighting for places‚ and keep each other on their toes."
McCarthy projected an air of calmness as he met the media two days before departing for Durban and three before the big game on Saturday night.
He said the break for international football over the past fortnight had been too long.
"But I guess the guys got to bond a little more. We trained and tried to focus on the final.
"We prepared OK. The guys don’t seem too nervous about it‚ which is probably going to help come Saturday night."
McCarthy said neither were there nerves on his part yet.
"I guess when it gets to Friday it will start to hit me. It’s a game of football‚ final or no final.
"I think in the end you just want to continue with what you are doing."
Cape Town City’s coach expects the final to be a tense affair. "Obviously they are very disciplined‚ very organised. That’s what [SuperSport coach] Eric [Tinkler] has instilled in them‚" McCarthy said.
"His organisation is very good. So it’s going to be very difficult because they are organised. But I think we’ve played teams that have been as organised before and as good‚ if not maybe a little better."
Tinkler is looking to his central defensive partners Morgan Gould and Clayton Daniels to play a big role in the final.
Gould and Daniels gave a strong performance in the heart of the Bafana Bafana defence during the 3-1 World Cup qualifier victory over Burkina Faso last weekend and Tinkler is expecting more of the same.
"I was very proud of both of them because they did exceptionally well for Bafana the past weekend‚" he said.
"Since I arrived here at the club‚ they have performed very well and that’s what I expect from them again in the final this coming weekend.
"Cape Town City is a club that has good strikers in Lehlohonolo Majoro and Victor Obinna and it is very important to apply themselves the way they can.
"Judas Moseamedi is also available for Cape Town City and he brings that element of speed and a lot of aggression … something Majoro and Obinna do not have."