“It was a pleasure to be back on the touchline and to bring out the best in these boys.”
DURBAN – Benni McCarthy enjoyed a fine start to life as AmaZulu head coach as his side earned a 3-1 DSTV Premiership victory over Chippa United at the Jonsson Kings Park Stadium yesterday afternoon.
“It was a pleasure to be back on the touchline and to bring out the best in these boys. We know Chippa are good on the ball but we tried to stay composed and use Thembela Sikhakhane and Sibusiso Mabaliso and give more numbers. This is a good score and we should have capitalized more,” said McCarthy.
“(Augustine) Mulenga is a player that wants to get out more. If he is coming from the inside, he will get joy. I have to give credit to (Siphelele) Mthembu as well because he played his role well. It is a work in progress but it’s nice that the boys are starting to enjoy their football again.”
Usuthu went behind in the 13th minute of the game as Chippa punished some poor defending from the home side and Isaac Nhlapo scored his first goal for the Chilli Boys. The defender showed good composure to merely pass the ball into the net beyond AmaZulu keeper Siyabonga Mbatha.
After some attacking passages of play, Usuthu began to exert themselves and it was hardly surprising when Mulenga scored his first goal for the club and drew them level in the 23rd minute. The Zambian’s goal was orchestrated by some good work on the left flank by Mthembu.
Since his arrival at the club during the off-season, former Orlando Pirates attacker Mulenga has been a livewire for the club along with 33-year-old Luvuyo Memela. Usuthu fans will be hoping that this was the first of many goals for the club from the Zambian.
Just five minutes later, the in-form Memela put Usuthu ahead, scoring his fifth goal of the season in the process. It was a well worked team goal for AmaZulu as Mthembu and Xola Mlambo combined well before playing the ball to Mulenga who supplied it to Memela who made no mistake in striking it into the back of the net.
Chippa played with more intensity in the opening minutes of the second half. On a pretty quiet day, Mbatha was required to pull off two alert saves to deny
Eva Nga and Tebogo Qinisile in the 53rd and 54th minute.
In the 55th minute, the in form duo of Mulenga and Memela once again combined with aplomb before the latter tucked the ball into the net to notch up his second of the game.
The injury prone Mbatha, who returned to the starting XI following a short injury layoff was in pain with a shoulder problem in the 76th minute but fortunately for Usuthu fans, he was able to continue playing.
AmaZulu looked to be a more composed unit and fully deserved the victory.