McCarthy lays down challenge to ailing Chiefs as Absa Premiership returns
Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy says his side should no longer be viewed as the biblical David in the fight with Goliath as they have already proven "giant-slayers", with that theory set to be put to the test in the coming weeks.
City host Kaizer Chiefs in the Absa Premiership on Saturday, before a trip to Orlando Pirates next Wednesday for another league clash. They then tackle SuperSport United in the final of the MTN8 in Durban on September 28.
Chiefs have made their worst ever start to a league season with no wins in their five matches to date, their record comprising of four draws and a defeat, which suggests they are there for the taking by a City side that very rarely lose at home.
McCarthy believes that his side, fresh from the international break, have the armory to pile more misery on the AmaKhosi.
"We like to say we are the Davids when we go up against Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns. But people don't look at us anymore as the David, we are giant-slayers," McCarthy told the media on Thursday.
"We have 11 hungry lions that want to eat and there is a wounded animal on the other side. We back ourselves, even if we respect them for what they have done in the past."
City are likely to be without new signing Tokelo Rantie as he works his way back to match fitness after 11 months on the sidelines, while Surprise Ralani, Roland Putsche and Siphelele Mthembu must all prove their fitness.
McCarthy says he has worked hard since his arrival at the club at the start of last season on getting his players to control the pace of the game, and make sure they have the lion's share of possession.
He feels they have done that, but their problem remains finishing off the chances they create.
"On a daily basis we work on what is our strength, which is that technically our players are very good on the ball. When I came in, I could see that technically their ability was there and if you polish it you will get the benefit," McCarthy added.
"We are good at playing from the back, keeping calm, keeping our composure. We practice it every day to get better and perfect it.
"Now I feel we have mastered that and we need to move a little bit forward where we have to finish off teams. Finish what we start with the good build-up. Hopefully we do that to Chiefs on Saturday."
Chiefs could hand a debut to former City captain Lebo Manyama, though likely off the bench, while Madagascan attacking midfielder Dax could feature after he was finally registered following the intervention of FIFA.
"Dax and Lebo are very good players and their availability will have a positive impact on the team," midfielder Siphelele Ntshangase told his club's website, adding that they were looking forward to playing at the Cape Town Stadium, where the club always enjoys tremendous support.
"Playing in Cape Town feels like playing at home. Our supporters always come out in numbers to support us in the Mother City. We are looking forward to the game."
Ntshangase added that the squad members who were not away on international duty had worked hard on the training pitch during the international break.
"We worked a lot on our shape, where to be on the pitch at what time in relation to be ball and your opponent," he continued.
Other matches this weekend see Orlando Pirates host bogey side SuperSport United on Saturday night, with The Buccaneers winless in their last 10 meetings with Matsatsantsa.
That includes a humiliating 6-1 loss in the league, two Nedbank Cup final defeats, and losses in the Telkom Knockout and MTN8, the latter just last month.
League leaders BidVest Wits travel to surprise strugglers Maritzburg United, who are winless in four games this season, while Eric Tinkler will hope to get his first win as Chippa United coach when they host Baroka FC in. Mdantsane.
The other game on Saturday sees Polokwane City entertain Free State Stars at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium.
There are also three matches on Sunday as Mamelodi Sundowns travel to AmaZulu, Black Leopards host high-flying Bloemfontein Celtic and Highlands Park hope to end a run of four draws at home to Lamontville Golden Arrows.