AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy proud of his players
AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy says he is proud of his players after they beat KwaZulu-Natal neighbours Lamontville Golden Arrows to go top of the standings on Saturday.
The Durban side's stay at the summit lasted for a day as champions Mamelodi Sundowns returned to the top after outclassing Orlando Pirates 3-0 at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.
But McCarthy was pleased by his players' fighting spirit as they continue to defy the odds and challenge for a maiden Premiership title.
“They have proven themselves to be exceptionally well equipped‚ hard working with determination‚ drive‚ and ambition and they have an ability you’ve never seen‚” McCarthy said. “I think maybe some of these guys need to go into the history [books] of AmaZulu because you are never going to have a more exceptional season than you have with these guys.
“It was a tough game‚ a very tough game for us and the field didn’t help us because of the rain [on Friday].
McCarthy gave credit to Arrows‚ who remain third despite the defeat‚ for pushing them hard in the second half after Luvuyo Memela had given Usuthu a lead on what was a very poor pitch at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium.
“Arrows brought on two attacking players and, ja‚ they were going for the game‚ but with them still pushing all the way to try to get the equaliser‚ we got a one-on-one situation where with the form that Lehlohonolo Majoro is in you would think there’s no chance in hell that he doesn’t make the goal.
“He disappointed himself and the team [when] he didn’t capitalise‚ he didn’t put the ball in the back of the net.
“That allowed Arrows to still think that they could come into the game‚ but then it got to the most controversial part of the game when the officials got it wrong.
“Siyathemba Sithebe had a break from the halfway line‚ the ball was played through and he was in on goal‚ one-on-one with the keeper‚ but the officials ruled it offside‚ which was criminal.
“Anyway‚ everyone makes mistakes‚ so the referee was very good‚ linesman was good and firm. They handled the match the way a derby should [be handled] and so you can’t blame them. They made a mistake but we thought‚ for our benefit‚ it was by far never an offside.
“But I’m happy for the players‚ for the team and happy for AmaZulu, and we march on."
Leaders Sundowns have a point advantage over AmaZulu and with two games in hand.
McCarthy will hope the six teams that are still to face the Brazilians do them a favour and stop the rampant champions.
Usuthu will have to win their four remaining games starting with a clash against Baroka FC at home on May 11‚ Pirates away on May 19‚ Swallows FC on May 26 and finally against KZN rivals Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on the last day of the season on May 29.
“Whether it was [AmaZulu's stay at the top] only for one day‚ it was still a nice feeling and reward for the players for their hard work‚ determination and having a winning mentality just like their coach.
“I think it’s sweet‚ I’m super proud and I love these guys. That’s how proud I am of them," McCarthy said.