Benni McCarthy ready to ditch 'rubbish' Cape Town City players
The quarterfinal line-up for the 2018 Telkom Knockout will be complete on Tuesday night when AmaZulu host Cape Town City at King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi in the last of the first-round matches.
City were recently crowned MTN8 champions but have shown Jekyll and Hyde form this season, with just a single league victory as well as they grapple on multiple fronts under coach Benni McCarthy.
Yet that inconsistent form has shown McCarthy what his best eleven is, as changes made after their MTN8 final win for matches earlier this month against Bidvest Wits and Maritzburg United backfired.
"I have to look in the mirror first because maybe I was bit naive to think that I could just change the team and the players would be able to switch on just like that," he told reporters.
"Maybe I need to look at myself for making those wholesale changes and I should have just trusted my gut and gone for the same team, with just a small adjustment here and there.
"But my job has since become a little bit easier. I used to worry about selection because at training everyone is on fire and it's difficult to choose.
"But I know now who the players are that, when fit, will do a job for me. It's a shame for the others but that's just the harsh reality.
"They might hate me for this but I don't like to lie. When they are unbelievable, I tell them they are unbelievable so they just cannot expect me to praise, praise, praise. When they are rubbish, they also need to know."
The match could provide a debut for former national team striker Tokelo Rantie, who has been battling to regain match fitness after not kicking a ball in anger for a year after he walked out on Turkish side Genclerbirligi, and then briefly quit the game having become disillusioned.
City claimed the Telkom Knockout in their first season of existence in 2016, defeating SuperSport United 2-1 in the final at Peter Mokaba stadium.
Eric Tinkler was coach of the team at that time and their goals were scored by Aubrey Ngoma and Judas Moseamedi, who have both since departed, the latter on loan.
McCarthy was in the twilight of his career when he lifted the trophy as a player, helping Orlando Pirates to a 3-1 final success over Wits.
The seven sides who have already qualified for the quarterfinals are defending champions Wits, Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Mamelodi Sundowns, SuperSport United, Baroka FC and Maritzburg United.