CAPE TOWN - Benni McCarthy will face Mamelodi Sundowns again in another cup tussle and is backing his Cape Town City side to sweep past Masandawana when they meet in a two-legged MTN8 semi final.
The first leg of the encounter will be played on August 25 and the second leg is scheduled for September 1. City will start at home in August and travel to Pretoria in September. McCarthy says the clash will not be a repeat of last season’s Nedbank Cup quarter final, where Sundowns got the better of City 2-1 at Cape Town Stadium. He says is not fazed about facing the reigning Premiership champions, Sundowns.
“Last season and this season are two different animals. They have strengthened their team and everyone can see it. Every game there are two new players. They just look better and better. It is going to be a very difficult encounter,” McCarthy said after beating Maritzburg United 1-0 in the quarterfinal.
"They might be Goliath in this situation but we are not scared of anyone. If you want to be champions, if you want to win titles, you got to beat the best in the competition. Unfortunately for us the best in our league is coming (up against us)."
The Citizens reached the MTN8 final last season but lost out to SuperSport United on penalties at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. “Last season we were in a similar situation. We played against Bidvest Wits (the Premiership champions at that time). We had no chance against Wits but we went past them and we were in the final. We have to take one game at the time. When Sundowns come we will deal with them,” he added.
City are searching for their second piece of silverware. In their debut season they lifted the Telkom Knockout trophy. “We’ve got two bites at the cherry, not just one. We have a home encounter where we are going to try and put ourselves in a respectable position for when we travel to Sundowns. We have to go to Sundowns with something to fight for.”
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City were rampant in their first game at home this season, beating SuperSport United 2-0 at Cape Town Stadium. “If you were there at home against SuperSport United, most people can tell that we are not a walk in the park. It will be nice game,” McCarthy explained as he fired a warning to Sundowns that his team are no push overs.
He will be banking on Siphelele “Shaka Zulu” Mthembu again to give them an edge in physical and aerial duels when they meet Sundowns. The former Bafana Bafana hitman feels that Mthembu was the missing puzzle in City’s set up.
“Shaka Zulu is the man. He gives us a such complete outlook. If you look at us last season, we were a good football playing team but we didn’t have bite.We lacked that instinct. Shaka gives us that. We didn’t have that depth and someone who will hold the ball for us. He has given us that.
“We are a complete side now. We can fight and protect. We can play under pressure as well because we’ve got a striker who give us that outlet. I’m very happy to have Shaka. He has that Zlatan Ibrahamovic style,” he concluded.
The winner of the two-legged clash will face either Kaizer Chiefs or SuperSport United in the final.