AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy on the support of his boss Sandile Zungu
Benni McCarthy is appreciating the support he’s getting from new AmaZulu owner Sandile Zungu.
Zungu hasn’t missed a match and is often seen hugging and encouraging players and coaching staff at the improving Durban club that has won four matches on the trot in all competitions.
Zungu was on hand again on Saturday‚ joining in the celebrations at the muggy Sugar Ray Xulu pitch after striker Lehlohonolo Majoro’s last-gasp goal inspired the club to come from a goal down to eventually beat neighbours Lamontville Golden Arrows 5-4 on penalties in the first round of the Nedbank Cup on Saturday.
“The president (Zungu) has every right (to celebrate with them). He spent his money to buy this football club‚” said McCarthy of Zungu who bought the club that last won a trophy in 1992.
“Of course he wants to feel part and parcel of the team. And then he’s brought in one of the top or one of the best young coaches (him) that you can get. He needs to back his acquisition. He’s fully supportive together with his family. And we have to show him that what he’s invested in is the wisest investment ever.”
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McCarthy added that the set up he’s in at AmaZulu allows him to perform and help the team the best he can.
“He’s (Zungu) allowed me to bring in the people (Vasili Manousakis and Siyabonga Nomvethe and goalkeeper coach Moeneeb Josephs) that can help this team and make it something that people in Durban or people associated with AmaZulu have never experienced‚” said the Usuthu coach.
“So yes, the camaraderie and family atmosphere is important because you can never be in an environment where people don’t like each other‚ where people don’t respect each other and where people don’t compete against each other. I want to look at this as a family because I spent more time with these guys than what I do with my own family.
“So you have to make it an environment where everyone is comfortable‚ everyone is happy and everyone knows the job that they’re supposed to do and do it to the best of their ability.
“The camaraderie for me is a fundamental principle of being in an environment where there’s going to be success and winning a lot of football matches. That’s what we’ve been doing and you can see the results are slowly but surely coming.
“There’s good feeling coming back to KwaZulu-Natal and now we can’t wait to have the fans (back at the stadiums) so that we can work even more.”
McCarthy also spoke of Usuthu’s recent tendency to turn the tables right at the death when their opponents think they’ve won (Arrows) or got a point (Bloemfontein Celtic 4-3) in the games.
“When Majoro‚ Shaka (Sphelele Mthembu) and (Luvuyo) Memela came in they changed the momentum of the game‚” said the former Bafana Bafana striker. “But listen, we have a never-say-die attitude and that’s a kind of person and a player I was.
“It’s never over until the fat lady sings. And I was still barking on the bench when we got a fantastic cross (92 minutes) from Memela into Major (Majoro) and he took his goal like Luis Suarez (Atletico Madrid) or Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus).
“So yeah‚ Majoro got us back into the game but it was all down to perseverance. It was end-to-end kind of stuff but unfortunately the game only produced two goals. And then penalties ... it’s a lottery, to be honest.”
Having managed to take the 89-year-old club to the last 16 for the first time since 2018‚ a beaming McCarthy revealed who he would like to face next.
“I hope we get a GladAfrica (Championship) team‚” said a chuckling McCarthy of the last 16 draw which will be conducted after the final match of the last 32 between Baroka FC and Cape Town Spurs on Monday afternoon.