Benni McCarthy wants AmaZulu to dodge big bullets against TP Mazembe
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Durban – Benni McCarthy and AmaZulu faces one of their biggest test yet when they square off against Congolese football giants TP Mazembe in a CAF Champions League Second Preliminary Round first leg clash at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.
Along with Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly, Mazembe are one of the most decorated sides in the African continent, having won the continental competition five times, with their most recent success being in 2015.
Usuthu’s ambitious coach Benni McCarthy is aware that his side will have to make the most of their home advantage ahead of the second leg which will be played in challenging conditions at Mazembe’s home ground in Lubumashi.
“We have to ensure that the home game is a positive one as it will give us something to enter the DRC with and give us something to fight for. We cannot slip up like he did against Nyasa Big Bullets and had to go to Malawi to do the impossible. I think this time around, we have learnt from our mistakes and we will make our home advantage count,” said McCarthy.
Despite Mazembe having a far more decorated history in continental football than AmaZulu, McCarthy is clearly not going to approach the tie negatively or with a mentality that the Congolese side will be favourites.
“As a player I never gave two monkeys about where you are from or what you have. I would think I’m equal or better than you. That is the belief I put in the players. I respect what you have done in the past but it means nothing in the present,” he said.
AmaZulu made their historic first ever Champions League appearance in their first preliminary round tie against Malawian side Nyasa Big Bullets last month. They were upset by Bullets in Durban before bravely turning the tide in the second leg en route to a 3-2 aggregate win.
Usuthu started the season in poor form and struggled to be prolific in front of goal. However, they have been resurgent in recent weeks amidst a return to form from striker Bongi Ntuli.
McCarthy is aware that his side can ill-afford to make mistakes against Mazembe like they did against Big Bullets.
“We could not have asked for a bigger opponent. They are a powerhouse in Africa. We have to respect their history. We will not fear anything because we have passed the stage where we fear other teams. We respect them as a team but we don’t fear them,” he said.