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Benni Happy Celtic Won’t Have Twelfth Man

AmaZulu Head Coach Benni McCarthy is feeling confident ahead of his team’s game against Bloemfontein Celtic on Sunday, but has confirmed that three key players will miss out after positive Covid tests.

McCarthy says it wasn’t ideal that they didn’t have a game last week, their originally scheduled game against Kaizer Chiefs was postponed due to Kaizer Chiefs’ CAF Champions League fixture, but he says it did give him extra time to work his with squad.

McCarthy says that they want to build on the momentum from their win against Chippa United at the end of last year, which was his first match in charge.

The former Cape Town City coach knows Celtic won’t be easy, but he says that playing behind-closed-doors, at least takes away their 12th man advantage.

“They’ve worked really hard. The players look really up for the future, and the future is around the corner in two days, so hopefully we can continue from the good game we had against Chippa,” McCarthy told AmaZulu media.

“We know it’s different opponents. Celtic is very formidable, they’re very tricky, they’re quick, and in Bloem it’s difficult, but the advantage that works in our favour, they won’t have their twelfth man with them, because Bloem, fantastic support, they’ve got great support, and the fans really get behind them. You see the effects on the field, it has on the players, so now they’re playing without that so it’s a little plus for us.”

“And I’m pretty sure from watching the Maritzburg game, the Bloem Celtic team was also hit with a lot of Covid cases. I’m sure preparations for their team hasn’t been easy.”

“It’s going to be two teams that really wants the three points, and at the end of the day, the team with the best tactical organisation, that goes into the game confident, that plays accordingly, and the team that takes their chances and scores the goals, is the team that is going to come out victorious.And I hope it’s going to be the green of AmaZulu.”

McCarthy also confirmed that three AmaZulu players, Makhehleni Makhaula, Sibusiso Mabaliso and Siphiwe Tshabalala, had tested positive for Covid-19, and that had been a bit of a disruption.

“Unfortunately we got hit with three players being positive so they had to self-isolate, and I think it disrupted.”

“Makhaula was one of them who played in the match when we played Chippa, Mabaliso was the second one, who had a fantastic game, so we’re losing one of our offensive left back players, but we do fortunately have experience coming back.”

“And then Shabba, for the group, for the atmosphere, the experience that he brings. So when you lose three players like this in your team, you need to rotate the squad and find different solutions.”

Rob Delport
Rob Delport
Rob Delport is a walking football encyclopedia, having been a mainstay in the Cape Town football scene for years. Rob has previously worked for SABC and various websites and publications across Africa, as well as being the South African Head Researcher for Football Manager and doing a similar role occasionally for EA Sports FIFA. Highly respected, Rob is now a senior iDiski Times website and newspaper writer, and is also responsible for the newspaper's editorial.