McCarthy plays mind games with Downs

Benni McCarthy during a Cape Town City FC training session
Benni McCarthy during a Cape Town City FC training session
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images

Losing both Khama Billiat and Percy Tau is a psychological blow to Mamelodi Sundowns‚ Benni McCarthy claimed on Thursday as he attempted to stir the pot before Saturday’s MTN8 semifinal‚ first leg, tie between Cape Town City and the league champions.

But he did temper his comment with a prediction that new signing Toni Silva could turn out to be a marquee player for the PSL.

“Psychologically it is a big loss for them [Sundowns] and it is added to the fact that their new players haven’t really settled in and found their feet‚” McCarthy said.

“But it still doesn’t stop them from having the same quality that they had and the players that they have brought in have foreign experience‚ so they could be better equipped than what the likes of Percy and Billiat gave them.

“The strength with those two was that they were both lightning quick and both deadly in front of goal.

“That’s why they were able to punish most teams.

“Once these new guys settle in and find their feet‚ I think [Sundowns] are going to be as clinical or probably even more so than they were because they did make some exceptional buys.”

City host Sundowns at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday (kickoff 3pm) and then go to Atteridgeville for the return leg on Sunday‚ September 2.

New signings Lebogang Manyama and Mario Booysen will not be available for Kaizer Chiefs in the first leg of their MTN8 semifinal against SuperSport United on Sunday as they lacked match fitness.

Coach Giovanni Solinas said they needed time to be integrated into the squad and would not be part of Chiefs’ match-day 18.

Manyama‚ especially‚ might take some time to get back to match fitness as he did not play for his previous club in Turkey‚ Konyaspor‚ for seven months.