Benni McCarthy banks on the trickiness of his players to beat Nyasa in Champions League preliminary tie
AmaZulu FC coach Benni McCarthy believes a bit of flair mixed with speed and lot of movements will make it easy for them to beat Malawian side Nyasa Bullets in the first leg of the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Friday.
McCarthy’s team will appear for the first time in Africa’s premier club competition after their surprise second-place finish in the DStv Premiership last season.
In Nyasa, McCarthy said he expects a physical encounter and that’s why he thinks applying trickery and speedy movements could help them win the match.
“When teams analyse our teams they only worry about the technicality of the game, the speed, because obviously SA players are smaller and we’re agile and versatile and quick with little one twos,” said McCarthy. “You don’t prepare for the physicality because it’s not the SA football game.
“But for us when we analyse teams on the continent it’s impossible to analyse any team without worrying about physicality. And ja, that’s the first thing that I’ve spotted. The size of their team ... they’re quite a big boys.
“I’m guessing if I’m a wise guy they’ll come here and probably hope for a very subtle result. Maybe they’re not going win the game but if they lose by one goal or they get a draw, then by there (Malawi) they’ll look to try to go for it.
“So the physicality part will come and so we’ll have to be a little bit smart. I’ll have to think what will be the best for my players. You bring in versatility, speed, trickiness, a bit of flair because that’s the worst thing for a bigger oke to face.
“They don’t like someone that comes at them because when it becomes a yard past you it becomes very difficult. We have to just try to avoid giving set pieces away because that looks like one of their biggest strengths.
“But if we can avoid giving corner kicks, free kicks near our area I think we’ll give ourselves a big opportunity to get something really, really positive to away with us. We have to go there with something to fight for. So we’ll play to our strengths, use the speed and trickiness and hopefully that can do the damage.”
The former Bafana Bafana striker admitted that he had no idea what Nyasa were all about and had to rely other people to get information about them.
“To be honest we didn’t know very much about them (Bullets) but fortunate for us we have (Limbikani) Mzava in our team who’s from Malawi,” he said. “He was giving us a little bit of insight on them, but he’s a player and he needs to focus on his own game so we can’t rely on him.
“We spoke to couple of networks and we got someone from Malawi who gave us their latest matches so we were able to analyse them.
“Yeah we’ve got a little bit of an idea and I spoke to Thomas Kwenaite (SA journalist with experience on the continent) and because of the Soccer Africa programme (he appears on) he was able to give me some really good information on the manager (Kalisto Pasuwa) and the players.”
Usuthu will face five-time Champions League winners TP Mazembe of DR Congo in the first round if they manage to beat Nyasa in the preliminaries.
Usuthu will face Nyasa without the injured Zambian striker Augustine Mulenga and new recruit from Gambia Matarr Ceesay but was happy to report the return of winger Thabo Qalinge from an ailment.