CAPE TOWN - The fairytale finish to the DStv Premiership that Amazulu so desperately crave seems to be slipping out of their grasp with every Mamelodi Sundowns victory, but coach Benni McCarthy has stressed his charges will fight to the very end.
Having been on top of the table for a brief period just last week, Usuthu now trail Sundowns by seven points with just four matches remaining in the campaign. It is going to be a near miracle for AmaZulu to haul in the Brazilians, with the KwaZulu-Natal team requiring other teams to do them a couple of favours.
But having gone 16 games unbeaten in the league, McCarthy simply wants his to carry on the momentum in the clash against Baroka FC at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Tuesday.
“With the quality that we have we can compete against anyone and we’ll take it game by game and we’ll work towards that [winning the remaining four matches]‚” McCarthy said.
“Ours is about bettering ourselves as a team and you could see in the matches that we’ve played that it was always about AmaZulu. We didn’t care about the opposition that we were playing against. We just prepared well for them.”
For a team that has previously been perennial relegation candidates it has been an unbelievable transformation, which was kickstarted with the arrival of McCarthy in December.
Captain Tapelo Xoki certainly believes the former Bafana Bafana striker’s training methods is the reason behind the team’s new-found success.
“Coach Benni wants hard working players, he wants us to be dedicated in what we do, so he makes sure that everyday, we work hard. No-one is slacking and that pushes us a lot”, Xoki said.
“Our training sessions are different, very competitive, its like official games and that prepares us very well. We just keep the same attitude. We have good competition and that pushes us to not slack because we know everyone is capable of doing it for the team.
“We know that once you get into the starting line-up you can’t mess up because if you do, you will lose your position. It’s very competitive in this team,” he added.
Two players that have certainly grown under McCarthy’s mentorship are midfielders Luvuyo Memela and Augustine Mulenga. Mamela is the joint-top scorer for the Usuthu, benefitting from Malenga’s creativity with the Zambian international leading the charts in terms of assists.