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It was Robyn Johannes' choice to sign a pre-contract with Bidvest Wits, says Benni McCarthy

14:32 SAST 2018/02/18
Benni McCarthy and Robyn Johannes
The Citizens mentor has opened up about his failed attempt at keeping the Braamfontein-bound defender at the club

Cape Town City head coach Benni McCarthy admits that he tried to convince captain Robyn Johannes to stay at the club.

During the now concluded January transfer window, it was revealed that Johannes whose contract is set to run out at the end of the season would join Bidvest Wits after signing a pre-contract with the defending Premier Soccer League (PSL) Champions.

This came as a major blow to City who tried their utmost to keep the experienced defender at the club, but according to the Citizens mentor, Johannes opted against a contract renewal due to the hefty sums of money thrown at him by the Students.

“Robyn is a player that recovered himself this season. He was great last season, but this year he made up for all the years he missed out because of injury,” McCarthy was quoted as saying by Independent Media.

“Of course I tried (to keep him at City) because I have known him since he was 15. I played with him, and now I get to coach him. Our relationship is more than that of coach and player. But it’s difficult when you are competing with teams who have bigger budgets than you, and would throw more money at players,” he added.

But McCarthy reveals that he understands and respects the former Mamelodi Sundowns defender’s decision.

“It also becomes difficult for a player when you say he has to give up R2 million or R3 million to stay. I think I can’t try to convince someone, especially when you get to the latter stages of your career,” he explained further.

“You have to try and make the best living situation for your family because in two or three years, it’s over. And I don’t want players resenting me and saying ‘Coach Benni made me decide to stay and now in five years’ time, I have to go look for a job when I could have secured my future for another extra five years’,” he continued.

“I don’t want to be the guy that kills someone’s career like that. So, I let him decide. It was his choice and it’s his life. We obviously couldn’t match what Wits were offering. We lost one of our gems and captain,” he concluded.