CAPE TOWN – The Nedbank quarter-final tie between Cape Town City and Mamelodi Sundowns at the Athlone Stadium on Sunday afternoon (3pm) is shaping up to be an occasion not to be missed, especially with the coaches – Benni McCarthy and Pitso Mosimane – ratcheting up the mind games ahead of the eagerly-anticipated clash.
Earlier this week, Sundowns coach Mosimane threw down the gauntlet in scoffing at McCarthy’s contribution since arriving at City.
“City are a team that was well built by Muhsin,” Mosimane told the media. “Eric Tinkler inherited the team and didn’t do much. It’s the same with Benni, he inherited the team and didn’t touch much. We forget to pay tributes to Muhsin, who built a very strong team. It’s the way it is.”
On Thursday, after City’s training session at the club's new facility in Hartleyvale, McCarthy hit back at his counterpart.
“I’m new,” he emphasised. “When I arrived here, the club was one year old. So I’m looking to build something for myself. You can say I inherited a good team, but look at my team – how many of the players did Eric (Tinkler) use in his team? And how many did Muhsin (Ertugral) use?
“I was coached by (Jose) Mourinho, so if he (Mosimane) wants to play mind games, good luck,” added the City coach. “I’m experienced and I’m not that naïve to be bothered by his comments. And, hey, I think Sundowns was successful before Pitso was there…”
Importantly, though, as McCarthy stressed, is the fact that, at the end of the day, it’ not about the coaches, it’s about the men who take the field on the day: “The players have to go out and perform, and grab the highlights and glory.”