Benni believes they have survived the worst as AmaZulu prepare to face Amakhosi

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Benni McCarthy sounds confident ahead of AmaZulu’s clash against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday. Photo: Steve Haag / BackPagepix
Benni McCarthy sounds confident ahead of AmaZulu’s clash against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday. Photo: Steve Haag / BackPagepix

SPORT


AmaZulu head coach Benni McCarthy has likened his team’s tough opening league programme to being sent to their deathbed.

Usuthu registered their first DStv Premiership victory of the season last weekend after three successive draws and a defeat since the start of the domestic league campaign in August.

Although a bit cautious, or simply playing mind games, McCarthy believes they have survived the worst, and that the 1-0 win over Baroka FC last Saturday was a morale booster ahead of AmaZulu’s confrontation with Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday, especially as the result catapulted AmaZulu from 13th to seventh on the Premiership table.

It’s like they want to send us to our deathbed very soon
AmaZulu head coach Benni McCarthy

Like Usuthu, the out-of-sorts Amakhosi have also registered only a single win in five league matches, but Chiefs are stuck in the bottom half of the table with two draws and two defeats.

“When you look at the [Premiership] schedule, you saw Cape Town City, Sundowns, Swallows, SuperSport, Golden Arrows, Baroka and Kaizer Chiefs ... it’s like they want to send us to our deathbed very soon. But we persevered [and] got positive results. We also got results we felt were a little bit short at times where we didn’t come away with the points,” said McCarthy.

AmaZulu, who lost their opening game to Sundowns, were held to goalless draws at home by Swallows and SuperSport a few weeks ago. Prior to their win over Baroka, Usuthu came away with a 2-2 stalemate against Golden Arrows a fortnight ago.

“At least we didn’t lose. Those are your direct opponents, the teams that will be around you in the top eight, but when you win one game, and you go from 13th to seventh, that’s a helluva jump,” McCarthy pointed out.

READ: AmaZulu and Gallants aim to avoid early CAF exit

“So, yes, we’ve tasted that and now we want to continue. We don’t want to let that momentum go to waste. We are finding our groove and we want to maintain it.”

Despite Chiefs still struggling to move up a gear, McCarthy cautioned that they were still “a fearsome team that can bounce back because they’ve got players with big-game temperament”.

“On any day, they can punish and hurt any team in the league. But if you’re prepared and you get them on the day when they are not at their best, you can capitalise like other teams did.”

Chiefs, in the history of South African football, are a big one, but we have prepared the way we do for every [other] match and we try and focus on ourselves more
McCarthy

Last weekend, Chiefs played to a goalless draw against Marumo Gallants.

Prior to this, Amakhosi lost 4-1 to novices Royal AM and 2-0 to defending champions Sundowns.

McCarthy somehow fancied his side’s chances, saying: “It is our home game and we need to set the standard.

“At this stage in the league, every team is a big one. There are no more easy matches. So when you prepare, you always prepare for a big one. Chiefs, in the history of South African football, are a big one, but we have prepared the way we do for every [other] match and we try and focus on ourselves more. We are ready to fight for all three points.”

DStv Premiership fixtures this weekend

Saturday

  • AmaZulu vs Kaizer Chiefs (Jonsson Kings Park Stadium, 3.30pm)
  • Chippa United vs SuperSport United (Sisa Dukashe Stadium, 3.30pm)
  • TS Galaxy vs Sekhukhune United (Mbombela Stadium, 3.30pm)
  • Baroka FC vs Stellenbosch (Peter Mokaba Stadium, 5pm)
  • Cape Town City vs Orlando Pirates (Cape Town Stadium, 5.30pm)

Sunday

  • Golden Arrows vs Marumo Gallants FC (Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium, 3.30pm)
  • Royal AM vs Maritzburg United (Chatsworth Stadium, 3.30pm)
  • Mamelodi Sundowns vs Swallows (Loftus Versfeld Stadium, 5.30pm)


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Daniel Mothowagae 

Deputy sports editor

+27 11 713 9001
Daniel.Mothowagae@citypress.co.za
www.citypress.co.za
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park
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