Johannesburg - AmaZulu are almost out of the Caf Champions League on Friday evening as they were beaten 2-0 by Raja Casablanca at home while ES Setif secured victory against Horoya, both sides booking their spots into the quarterfinals.
Benni McCarthy's AmaZulu side looked out of their depth over two games against their Moroccan giant opponent. Usuthu's exit from the continent's premium competition has left a bitter taste in McCarthy’s mouth.
A disappointed McCarthy spoke after his side's loss and issued a challenge towards the AmaZulu ownership, suggesting issues of quality and depth played a huge role in how his side has performed this season.
"If the club wants us to compete then we have to look at our transfer policy. At the beginning of the season I had said that we would need to strengthen our squad if we are to build on last season's achievements," said McCarthy.
"If we as a club want to move to the next level then we have to bring in players of a higher calibre than what we have right now. The boys gave it their all tonight, but could not keep up with the quality of our opponents."
The former Cape Town City mentor has been a picture of frustration the entire season, frequently mentioning his desire to find fresh faces for his squad.
The club looked to respond to his requests with the January acquisition of Abbubaker Mobara and Sudanese striker Abraham Majok.
The pair haven't altered much in terms of performances and results since their arrival, leaving McCarthy with more questions than answers.
AmaZulu now shift their focus to local matters as they look to find their first win of the year in the league. They have drawn two and lost one of their games in the league in 2022 and will look to improve that the next time they face Baroka.
Usuthu have had a fairly disappointing season so far. The same squad of players that managed second place last season now look to be as lethargic, dull and out of ideas this season.
McCarthy highlighted the importance of his players switching back to the league as soon as possible if they are to salvage anything out their season in the last seven games.
"We can't afford to dwell on this game (against Raja), we have to switch back to the league if we want to finish in a position in the league," he said.
The Durban-based side have managed 14 draws in 23 games to their name so far and could miss out on a top eight finish with their current position of ninth.