DURBAN – Benni McCarthy is fresh from winning the MTN8 with Cape Town City and has made it clear that he wants to avoid the trip to Limpopo in tonight’s draw for the last 16 of the Telkom Knockout at 7.30pm.
The Citizens are seeded which means they won’t play Mamelodi Sundowns, Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, SuperSport United, Free State Stars, Maritzburg United and Lamontville Golden Arrows. All these teams finished in the top 8 last season to earn their seedings.
City can play one of AmaZulu, Bloemfontein Celtic, Wits, Chippa United, Polokwane City, Baroka FC, Highlands Park or Black Leopards.
McCarthy told the media on Friday after his side shared the spoils with Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg that he wants to get the home tie in today’s draw.
“I’m not scared of anyone. As long as I’m home. Give us a home tie then I’m okay. Don’t give me Baroka in Polokwane. Don’t give me Black Leopards there in Thohoyandou. If we are going there, we are going to have a problem,” McCarthy elaborated with a big smile.
City have built a reputation as Cup specialists in their two and half years of existence.
They have reached three Cup finals and lost one in a short space of time.
City lifted the Telkom in 2016, beating SuperSport United in the final in Peter Mokaba Stadium. Wits are the defending champions but they are unseeeded because they finished outside the top 8 last season.
McCarthy will be also pinning his hopes on Siphelele Mthembu to continue to do the donkey work up front.
“I don’t think I can do the job that Shaka is doing up front. He leads from the front. He is the pivot in our team. Everything that goes to him, he links up with our play. That’s the way we try and play. The intelligence that he has with all the pressure coming from the big defenders, it is not easy.
He holds up the ball nice and allows the likes of Ayanda Patosi, Gift Links and Craig Martin and Riyaad Norodien to come in and play in the game. That’s how we play. We need that pivot, we need that striker, “McCarthy added.
McCarthy also defended Mthembu’s goal return in front of goals. “People are expecting him to score a lot of goals but the chances the team creates, they all start from Shaka. I’m very happy with his performances. I’m happy for what is doing for the team.
Shaka is doing exactly what I want him to do. That’s why we are able to play the fantastic football that we play because we’ve got Shaka upfront.”