Former Bucs forward Benni McCarthy, now at the helm of Durban side AmaZulu, believes the upcoming Black Label Carling Cup Derby showdown will give fans a glimpse of what to expect from the two giants next season.
Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates are preparing for the traditional season precursor final penciled in for August 1. The popular tie will set the tone for the upcoming 2021/22 season.
“Pirates had a disappointing season by their standards after the signings they made – top class players from Bidvest Wits, [but] not being able to challenge Sundowns for the title or challenge AmaZulu for second place it’s a little bit of a disappointment,” McCarthy said during a virtual media update.
The former Bafana Bafana striker described Chiefs’ 2020/21 domestic season as a complete disaster. “They salvaged their season by getting to the final of the Champions League and finishing in the top eight.”
He noted that both Soweto giants did not enjoy the best of seasons on the domestic scene and a lot will be expected in the new term.
“We need Chiefs and Pirates to be at the top of their game because that’s when our league becomes entertaining. Those two teams provide the competition, the atmosphere, the drama when fans are back at the stadium,” he said.
Ex-Pirates winger Dikgang Mabalane is wary of the danger posed by Kaizer Chiefs marksman Samir Nurkovic ahead of the derby. Mabalane knows how much of a menace the Serb can be to his former team.
“I’m afraid of Nurkovic from Chiefs, he’s a player who always poses danger, and he’s familiar with the Pirates defence. He knows [Thulani] Hlatshwayo and [Happy] Jele at the back. He’s their dangerman. Khama Billiat could also pose danger,” he said.
He, however, believes Chiefs have every reason to watch Zakhele Lepasa with a hawk’s eye. “Lepasa is refreshed, he comes with a different mentality coming into this game. He has a point to prove. That’s one player they will be eyeing,” Mabalane added.
The Carling Black Label Cup pits the 11 most voted for players from Chiefs and Pirates against one another. Former Chiefs midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane, who recently hung his boots, said playing in the Carling Cup was a sign of confidence from the fans.
“When you’re on the field you know you are there because of the people out there, you know the people out there believe in you. They believe in your ability and talent and you will contribute to the team,” Letsholonyane said.
Mabalane further reiterated that there was no friendly between the two rivals. “A derby is a derby,” he said. A win for either of the two Soweto giants will be a morale-booster as they get ready for the new season.
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By FARPost Reporter