Amazulu coach Benni McCarthy. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix
Amazulu coach Benni McCarthy. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

’Lionel Messi doesn’t even do that’: Benni McCarthy criticises AmaZulu players after narrow win

By Mihlali Baleka Time of article published Oct 20, 2021

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Johannesburg - AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy was not taking any prisoners during his post-match reactions following his team's slender 1-0 win over TS Galaxy on Tuesday, saying local players, including his own, make football complicated sometimes.

After a rollercoaster start to their campaign, AmaZulu have been under the spotlight lately. On Friday, they drew the first leg of the second-round preliminary qualifiers against African giants TP Mazembe at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

And they needed a perfect response in their midweek league encounter against the rock-bottom-based side Galaxy. They found that courtesy of an early second half solo goal from Luvuyo Memela following an impressive team build-up.

Nonetheless, McCarthy was not entirely happy with his players at Mbombela Stadium, feeling that some of them spent too much time on the ball. And as a result, that complicated their flow as a team as they could have scored more goals.

“Players not listening,” said McCarthy after being asked by SuperSport what frustrated him the most in the first half. “When you have a job to do, it’s very simple. I don’t understand how many times you have to tell players ‘play simple.”

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The 43-year-old continued: “Football is a complicated game because silly players want to make it complicated and do things that they are not accustomed to do. (Lionel) Messi and the best players in the world don’t do that.”

“But here in South Africa, the level is there, but we want to do that. And that’s what we were doing and it was frustrating the life out of me. So just a simple give and go, simple football, and everyone wants to complicate that in the end.”

McCarthy believes that most players in the country complicate football, not just his. And that feat has quite made it difficult for the local-based players to stick to their strong points as they end up struggling against some of the best footballers.

“I think all South African players – not just AmaZulu players – we have to learn to bloody play to our strengths. If you are not accustomed to doing something then don’t do it. That’s what they do and wonder why our level doesn't go up,” he said.

“We keep being mediocre because we want to be special when we are just learning how to walk. That frustrates me. My team is doing it now but you see it every week in South African football. And you say ‘My God, let’s play to our level’.”

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