Benni McCarthy expects tough MTN8 test in tale of two Cities
Benni McCarthy expects his Cape Town City to face a tough test in the first hurdle of defending their MTN8 title in Saturday’s quarterfinal against Polokwane City at Newlands Rugby Stadium (kickoff 3pm).
Polokwane play a fourth game already this season under new coach Zlatko Krmpotic, who looks to take off where Jozef Vukusic left off last season.
Wins over Black Leopards and AmaZulu in their opening two games suggested the Limpopo side would again be up among the season’s top contenders after finishing the last campaign in a club record-equalling sixth place.
But they suffered a league setback on Wednesday at home against Bidvest Wits, losing 1-0, and now play again just three days later against McCarthy’s City.
Cape Town City, the holders of the MTN8 trophy, have a had a full week’s rest since their last clash against Stellenbosch in the league and McCarthy also has a near-full squad to pick from. Only long term injury victims Roland Putsche and Kouassi Kouadja miss out.
“Polokwane haven’t changed that much from the time we played them last season. I don’t think their new coach would have had too much time to change things in his team,” McCarthy said this week.
Polokwane sit with a low block and play the counterattack cleverly, with Jabu Maluleke, still going strong at 37, key to their transition.
“They are a very competitive team and difficult to play against. We watched them against AmaZulu and I still think they also keep a very high line,” McCarthy said.
“Their coach has instilled two or three different new aspects to their game but they are still solid and organised.
“It ain’t going to be the easiest test for us but we have to make home advantage count.
“We want to make Cape Town a fortress. We want teams to consider travelling to Cape Town as a struggle with teams not sure whether they are going to get sunshine, wind, rain and on top of that a lively Cape town City team,” McCarthy added.