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Citizens preparing for huge Pirates challenge

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City also recently strengthened their technical staff with the signing of Rayaan Jacobs as a technical analyst

Benni McCarthy coach of Cape Town City during the Absa Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Cape Town City on 17 February 2018 at FNB Stadium Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Benni McCarthy (pictured) arrived back from Europe on Saturday and, yesterday morning, he was back on the training ground, preparing Cape Town City for a crunch Nedbank Cup last 16 tie against Orlando Pirates at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday (7.30pm kick-off).

City coach McCarthy missed last week’s 1-0 win over Costa do Sol in Mozambique as he was in Manchester as part of his Uefa Pro Licence course. In his absence, the team was coached by his assistant, Vasili Manousakis.

Now, with the Cape side’s African adventure moving along positively, they are looking to mount a charge on the season’s final Cup competition. But, in facing an in-form Pirates side, McCarthy and his men have a tough task ahead.

Club boss John Comitis, however, is chuffed with the way things are unfolding.

“I’m happy with how we have done in Africa,” said Comitis. “We went into the competition without any expectations. But we knew (we) wanted to use the event wisely; we wanted to make sure that we kept players active, so that we spread the load in the squad. We were still thinking about winning while, at the same time, bringing more players into the fold.

“I have to say it’s working out very well. Now, we’ve got the Nedbank Cup and, in the league, we are also still fighting because we want to make sure that we finish in the top three.”

Comitis, though, acknowledged the difficulty of Wednesday’s encounter against a Pirates team that has improved tremendously under the guidance of Serbian coach Milutin Sredojevic.

“It’ll be a huge game on Wednesday,” said the City owner. “I think it’s all going to depend on who is best on the day. But we have prepared well and we haven’t skint on anything; we are ready. Except for Mpho Matsi, there is a fit squad to pick from. Matthew Rusike is back in contention and there is a strong possibility that Masoud Juma will be available as well.”

City also recently strengthened their technical staff with the signing of Rayaan Jacobs as a technical analyst. Jacobs was Pirates’ Reserve Team coach, but is highly rated in football circles for his insight into the game. Jacobs, together with Manousakis, will ensure that McCarthy has a strong backroom staff to lean on.

“Rayaan’s addition to the technical staff will see Benni with a well-balanced technical team,” said Comitis.