CAPE TOWN - Cape Town City have always, in the past, come unstuck against Mamelodi Sundowns because of the brilliance of Percy Tau and Khama Billiat. Now, though, as the two teams prepare to meet in a MTN8 semi-final first leg clash at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (3pm), both Tau and Billiat have moved on.
Tau was signed by English Premier League club Brighton and Hove Albion and subsequently sent on loan to the Second Division in Belgium, while Billiat has transferred to Kaizer Chiefs.
Because of this, does City coach Benni McCarthy believe he has a better chance against Sundowns? Not at all. In fact, McCarthy believes that Sundowns have a player in their squad who is better than both Tau and Billiat: new signing Toni Silva.
“Without Tau and Billiat, it may have a psychological impact on Sundowns, but they still have such a lot of quality in their squad,” said McCarthy. “The players they have brought into the club have European experience and, with time, as their new guys settle, Sundowns will become just as clinical.
"I think they have made some exceptional buys this season, especially Tony Silva. I remember him from the time I was playing in Portugal for Porto. He was still a youngster then, but what a player. He is world class; and, once he finds his feet, we’ll see that Sundowns have brought to the PSL player who is a class above what we have here.”
Silva, the 24-year-old from Guinea-Bissau, played at youth level for Benfica and Liverpool.