CAPE TOWN – Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy is very aware of the twin threat posed by Bernard Parker and Khama Billiat as he prepares to take on Kaizer Chiefs in Sunday’s Nedbank Cup quarter-final in Nelspruit (3pm kickoff).
“Key players aplenty for them starting with forwards Bernard Parker and Khama Billiat. Bernard is an experienced campaigner and on his day is one of the best strikers out there while Khama is good when he’s in the mood to play,” said McCarthy yesterday.
“Throw in the likes of midfielders Dumisana Zuma, George Maluleka and Leonardo Castro, who is their main playmaker. From our side, our last line will have to be on their heels and switched on to keep them at bay.”
The teams have met twice this season in the PSL and share a win and a loss.
City won the last encounter in January 1-0 despite being second-best on the day. Amakhosi were far superior on home turf at the FNB Stadium, but could not find the back of Peter Leeuwenburgh’s net.
Now for round three, and some of Chiefs’ players have been talking up a big game. Who can blame them, the once-mighty Soweto giants haven’t been able to get their hands on a trophy for close to four years now.
City captain and right-back Thami Mkhize turned out for Bafana Bafana last weekend and are set for another barnstorming outing. Edmilson Dove, Ebrahim Seedat and Taariq Fielies are the other players likely to feature at the back for City.
The Capetonians do have the firepower in the centre of the pitch to cause problems for Chiefs.
“That’s where we need to take command of proceedings,” said McCarthy at yesterday’s press conference. “We must keep things simple as a starting point. Then to be solid and compact before dictating proceedings with our pace and flair.”
The coach is not going to reveal his midfield paring and wings until the last moment.
What he will say is that his charges have looked good on the training field this week after a long break and are excited at the prospect of creating a bit of their own history for the club that has won two Cups in its three years of existence.
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The only downer for McCarthy so far in the Nedbank Cup has not being able to experience what it feels like to play one of the lower-league NFD or ABC Motsepe clubs.
He may yet get his wish as TS Galaxy became the first team to secure a place in the semi-finals after seeing off second-tier rivals and hosts Cape Umoya United 2-1 at the Athlone Stadium on Wednesday night.
Mike de Bruyn
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