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Nedbank Cup: Mental strength key for Kaizer Chiefs against Royal Eagles – McCarthy

6:11 PM SGT 6/2/20
Kaizer Chiefs players January 2020
The retired Amakhosi defender is confident his former club will emerge as victors on Sunday afternoon

Retired Kaizer Chiefs defender Fabian McCarthy is confident coach Ernst Middendorp will not underestimate their next Nedbank Cup opponents in the form of Royal Eagles.

Although Amakhosi have struggled against the so-called minnows in the past few seasons, McCarthy has warned his former team to forget about who is in front of them but go all and just do the job and to keep the momentum going.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) table-toppers failed to lift the Ke Yona trophy last season as they lost to TS Galaxy, but McCarthy says that’s all in the past as they face another side from the National First Division (NFD) on Sunday afternoon.

“The guys are obviously under pressure to erase the misfortunes of the past season where they lost the final but the mission is to keep the momentum going,” McCarthy told Goal.

"This is an opportunity to keep the balance and the momentum going on. I liked what the coach said, that they don’t need to try and change the team because it’s very important to keep winning.

“They can’t underestimate Eagles simply because they come from the lower division or read too much into their log standings because Eagles have nothing to lose, to be honest.

“Even if they get relegated from the championship but beating Chiefs will be their biggest milestone.  I believe coach Ernst will want to keep the momentum going as I mentioned.

“Eagles have nothing to lose, but they will want to prove their worth and will definitely challenge Chiefs there’s no doubt about that. Look, even if they don’t impress Chiefs, they want to play in the top flight and they will use this opportunity.

“We all know they want to play for top teams and they watch Chiefs players, I can tell you some even support the club, but Chiefs must just do the job.”

On why Amakhosi seem to struggle against teams from the lower divisions, the retired central defender believes mental strength should be key to avoid another disappointing result.

“I think sometimes when you play the so-called minnows most teams tend to drop the level and it’s either you drop the standard or just go about your normal business and move on,” added the legend.

"This goes back to mental strength. You need players that are mentally strong for such games, players that will treat the opponent professionally and with respect, forget which division the opponent comes from – just give your 100% performance.

“My advice would be to give their best in the 90 minutes and never allow the game to go into extra time because that will lead to frustration as the game drags on.

“In saying that, I’m confident Chiefs are ready for this one and I don’t see them losing this game. Eagles have their issues in the championship and we need to put all of these aside.

"The coach will definitely prepare for this one and because coach Ernst is someone that focuses on his team.”