CAPE TOWN – City coach Benni McCarthy says there will be no thoughts of revenge when his team welcome Highlands Park to Cape Town Stadium tomorrow (8pm kickoff).
“(Highlands) Park beat us 2-0 in the Premier League on their ground at the start of December in Tembisa on a day when we weren’t anywhere near our best, but this time around we meet them in the last 16 of the Nedbank Cup on our field and that’s a big advantage because our form has been very good there,” McCarthy said.
“I’m hoping our supporters turn up in huge numbers because my players seem to play at their best when they have the love from their fans.
“We respect Park, but our goal is to go all the way in this competition and that will see the champions qualifying for next season’s Caf Confederation Cup.”
The Citizens’ loss to the Lions of the North in the PSL ended a three-match unbeaten run for McCarthy’s boys, but they rebounded well and went on a six-game unbeaten run that included a win 1-0 home win over Kaizer Chiefs.
But last time out City were beaten 1-0 away by AmaZulu where McCarthy felt his team had probably played their best football.
“From the first to the last minute there was one team on the pitch, it was that easy, but we squandered chances aplenty. Football can kill you and it really felt like it killed me,” McCarthy said.
“Maybe it was the Durban curse and us having the wrong boots on. It was a tough loss to take, but we’ve put that loss behind us and shifted focus to the game ahead and another chance to showcase our skills.
“We will have the right boots on for a tough bout with Park and I expect a good performance and a positive result, although our opponents will see it the other way round.
“Them beating us 2-0 was a hard loss for the boys to take, they knew they were off their game and want to set the record straight.”
City welcome back star striker and leading goal scorer Siphelele Mthembu (seven league goals) and McCarthy may opt to start him alongside Kermit Erasmus.
Erasmus has made four appearances since signing for City in December but is yet to score a goal.
“Kermit might not be ready to go a full 90 minutes so to have Shaka (Mthembu) back can only do our cause good,” said McCarthy. “He’s on seven goals and why not a lot more from him is what I’m saying to him.”
Mike de Bruyn