Benni McCarthy: Sundowns are still dangerous without Percy Tau and Khama Billiat

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Toni Silva, Mamelodi Sundowns & Philani Zulu, Kaizer Chiefs, July 2018
The Citizens gaffer feels that the Brazilians will not miss Tau and Billiat, who were both influential for Pitso Mosimane’s side last season

Cape Town City head coach Benni McCarthy has hailed Mamelodi Sundowns’ new signing Toni Silva as a ‘world class’ player.

The Guinea-Bissau international was signed by the Brazilians towards the end of last season, but he only made his official debut for the team as they drew 0-0 with Highlands Park in a PSL match at home on Wednesday night.

“Without Tau and Billiat, it may have a psychological impact on Sundowns, but they still have such a lot of quality in their squad,” McCarthy told the media.

"I think they have made some exceptional buys this season, especially Toni Silva. I remember him from the time I was playing in Portugal for Porto,” the retired striker added.

“He was still a youngster then, but what a player! He is world class, and once he finds his feet, we’ll see that Sundowns have brought to the PSL a player who is a class above what we have here,” he said.

Silva was nurtured in the academies of English Premier League (EPL) giants Chelsea and Liverpool FC, before going on to play in lower leagues in Greece, Bulgaria as well as Portugal among other countries across Europe.

“The players they have brought into the club have European experience and, with time, as their new guys settle, Sundowns will become just as clinical,” he continued.

Silva is expected to fill the void left by Percy Tau and Khama Billiat, who recently left the Brazilians having played an important role in helping the club win the 2017/18 PSL title.

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Tau was sold to English Premier League club Brighton and Hove Albion, who then loaned him out to Belgian Second Division club Royale Union Saint-Gilloise. 

Billiat on the other hand joined Kaizer Chiefs on a free transfer, ending his five-year relationship with Sundowns

McCarthy, who had a successful spell with Portuguese giants FC Porto during his playing days, had a chance to watch Silva play as a youngster.