Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy warns Highlands Park ahead of Nedbank Cup tie

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The City coach is adamant that they will do well on Friday as they welcome the Lions of the North in the Ke Yona Cup clash

Cape Town City coach Benedict McCarthy says they are keen to qualify for the Caf Confederation Cup by winning this season's Nedbank Cup.

The Citizens will welcome Highlands Park at the Cape Town Stadium on Friday in a Last 16 match in the Mother City.

“It’s a trophy we want to win, every coach wants it because it takes you straight into Africa (Caf Confederation Cup), it’s appealing and it helps, but Cape Town and Makhulong (Highlands Park's home ground) are two different places altogether,” McCarthy said to the media.

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“They make life difficult in Makhulong, they’re familiar with the territory, (Orlando) Pirates went there and couldn’t get nothing, (Mamelodi) Sundowns almost came out with nothing, but their performances away from home are not the same,” he added.

The Citizens will be seeking revenge against the Lions of the North, who defeated 2-0 in a PSL match in December 2018.

“Yeah, obviously our last league loss came at the hands of Highlands. It was a tough trip for us no excuses and they caught us on a different day, but Friday is a different day. We are a much more established team now than when we played them the last time around, nevertheless, it becomes an extremely difficult game,” explained the coach.

McCarthy also added that having striker Siphelele Mthembu back from injury is a massive boost because he will bring some strength in attack.

“When you look at Highlands they are a physical outfit, we have become shorter and smaller by the rand and having Shaka (Mthembu) back, he was training yesterday and today he is good,” he responded.

“He bulks up our squad and you are not worried if Kermit (Erasmus) won’t maybe last for 90 minutes, so we have a suitable replacement for Kermit as Shaka comes back from injury,” noted the coach.

“I think he would like to pick up where he left off and he can fight to become a top goal scorer. He needs to score because every goal counts. Highlands is a perfect opposition to start with and it’s not that we are thinking of revenge,” insisted the legend.

McCarthy is happy to have all his best midfielders in the likes Teko Modise, Roland Putsche and Thato Mokeke available for selection.

“Modise, yeah it’s always nice when you have a selection headache as a coach. It’s not easy to leave out important players, but I can only pick eleven and the guys must be accustomed that sometimes it’s not personal but tactical,” he explained.

“It’s the best feeling where you can have players like Teko to choose from, Thato, Putsche and Thabo Nodada…I can juggle a little bit and see which players suit us the best,” he added.

“And you also have to consider the opposition, you put your squad out to do your tactics accordingly and match the opposition to go and win the game as well,” concluded the former Ajax Amsterdam striker.

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