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Benni still assessing Ekstein and Shonga

Usuthu coach in no rush to make decision on duo

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy.
AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy has made it clear they’re in no rush to decide whether they will sign Hedrick “Pule” Ekstein and Justin Shonga.

Ekstein and Shonga are being assessed by AmaZulu. The latter even featured in Usuthu’s KwaZulu-Natal Premier's Cup final defeat to Maritzburg United at Chatsworth Stadium at the weekend. Ekstein was in attendance but wasn’t given a run.

Shonga is a free agent after leaving Cape Town City a few weeks ago, while Ekstein found himself clubless after parting ways with his Azerbaijani side Sabail FK last month.

“We’ll have a look at them. Obviously, we’ve got a week to make it to the start of the season, so we’re not in a hurry to add. But when there’s quality players like that and they’re available, it costs us nothing to have a look at them and see if they fit in our squad or not. We’ve got a week or more to make a decision on them,” said McCarthy.

Starting their 2021/22 season with what promises to be a cracker against Cape Town City in the MTN8 quarterfinals at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday, AmaZulu face defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, Swallows, SuperSport United, Golden Arrows, Baroka and Kaizer Chiefs in their first six league outings.

McCarthy has given an interesting take on their gruelling first seven games of the new campaign, noting the league has always given him tough early fixtures. Nevertheless, the Usuthu trainer maintained they’re ready to go.

“It’s typical of the league, I would say. Never wanting to give me as a coach a break... always making it impossible for me just to get there but like I have said, I am not a Champions League winner for nothing [referring to his  2004 Uefa Champs League glory with Portuguese giants FC Porto]. So, nothing in my life was easy,” said McCarthy.

“As a coach I am not expecting things to be easy for me. Cape Town City, Sundowns, Swallows, SuperSport, Baroka and then Chiefs, so what more do you want? I think we’re licking our lips because we’re ready for the fight.”

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