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Five good reasons McCarthy's AmaZulu can beat Orlando Pirates

11:53 PM GMT+8 06/12/2021
Moeneeb Josephs Benni McCarthy AmaZulu
Now in his second season as Usuthu head coach, the 44-year-old Capetonian spent the final two years of his playing career with Bucs

Wednesday night's league showdown between AmaZulu and Orlando Pirates has all the makings of a mouthwatering encounter.

  • Jelly Chavani surrounded by AmaZulu players after Kaizer Chiefs penalty

    The setting

    Ahead of their meeting in Durban, it's been an up-and-down season for both Pirates and AmaZulu. Bucs go into the game having had a break on the weekend after LPRC Oilers withdrew from their Caf Confederation Cup clash, while Usuthu were frustrated by Royal AM in a 0-0 KZN derby draw.

    AmaZulu,who finished second last season, are ninth on the table with 18 points. The Sea Robbers (third last season) are seventh, with 19 points, four behind second placed Sekhukhune United and 12 behind league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

    GOAL looks at why a win would be huge for Benni:

  • Veli Mothwa, AmaZulu FC, October 2021

    AmaZulu need a morale booster

    First and foremostly, regardless of Wednesday's opposition, Usuthu are badly in need of a win. Having done so well last season to finish second, they have been floundering a bit this time around and go into the match against Bucs having drawn their last four league games and having won only one of their last seven.

  • Benni McCarthy, head coach of AmaZulu.

    AmaZulu yet to beat Bucs under McCarthy

    This will be the third time the former Bafana Bafana striker will be leading his side out into battle against Pirates as AmaZulu's head coach. Last season's two league games resulted in a 1-1 draw in Durban and a 1-0 win for Pirates in Soweto in the second round. Ultra-competitive Benni would surely love to get one over his former employers.

  • Benni McCarthy with Orlando Pirates boss Irvin Khoza

    Benni can impress the Iron Duke

    Wednesday’s game could almost be like a job interview, at least it could potentially turn out that way.

    There's an unsettled feel to Pirates this season as Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncikazi were handed the reigns when the previous coach Josef Zinnbauer quit after just a couple of games. Davids and Ncikazi have not officially been given the job on a permanent basis.

    If he gets his tactics right and his players carry out their instructions and McCarthy leads his side to an impressive victory, he may well give his former chairman, Irvin Khoza, something to ponder. McCarthy doesn't even have to replace Davids and Ncikazi, Bucs could potentially copy Mamelodi Sundowns and have a trio of coaches in charge in the future.

    We know McCarthy is ambitious, and these kinds of games are perfect for him to show that he's ready to coach one of South Africa's biggest clubs, with all due respect to AmaZulu of course.

  • Luvuyo Memela, AmaZulu & Khama Billiat, Kaizer Chiefs, October 2021

    Ex-Buccaneers with a point to prove

    There's a strong contingent of former Pirates players at Usuthu - the likes of Luvuyo Memela, Augustine Mulenga, Xola Mlambo and Siphelele Mthembu will be fired up against their former team. So too will ex-Kaizer Chiefs players such as Keagan Buchanan, Tsepo Masilela and Kgotso Moleko.

  • AmaZulu training.

    Statement of intent

    Even if Pirates have not been at their best, beating a team of their status would be a statement of intent for the Durban side, and it could set them up nicely for a very busy period of fixtures ahead of the Christmas and subsequent Afcon break.