Benni McCarthy. Picture: VELI NHLAPO
Benni McCarthy. Picture: VELI NHLAPO

AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy says he is proud of his players after they beat KwaZulu-Natal neighbours Golden Arrows to go top of the standings on Saturday.

The Durban side’s stay at the summit lasted for just a day as champions Mamelodi Sundowns returned to the top after outclassing Orlando Pirates 3-0 on Sunday.

But McCarthy was pleased with his players’ fighting spirit as they continue to defy the odds and challenge for a maiden premiership title.

“They have proven themselves to be exceptionally well equipped‚ useful‚ hard-working‚ determined‚ driven‚ ambitious, and they have an ability you’ve never seen‚” McCarthy said.

“I think some of these guys need to go into the history [books] of AmaZulu because you are never going to have a more exceptional season than you have with these guys. It was a tough game‚ a very tough game for us and the field didn’t help us because of the rain [on Friday].”

McCarthy gave credit to the Arrows‚ who remained third despite the defeat‚ for pushing them hard in the second half after Luvulo Memela had given Usuthu the lead on the poor pitch at the Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium.

“Arrows brought on two attacking players and they were going for the game‚ but with them still pushing all the way to try and get the equaliser‚ we got a one-on-one situation where with the form that [Lehlohonolo] Majoro is in you would think there’s no chance in hell that he doesn’t make the goal.

“He disappointed himself and the team [when] he didn’t capitalise‚ he didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. That allowed Arrows to still think that they can come into the game‚ but then it got to the most controversial part of the game when the officials got it wrong.

“Siyethemba [Sithebe] had a break from the halfway line‚ the ball was played through and he was in on goal‚ one-on-one with the keeper‚ but the officials ruled it offside‚ which was criminal.

“Anyway‚ everyone makes mistakes‚ so the referee was very good‚ linesman was good and firm. They handled the match the way a derby should [be handled].

“But I’m happy for the players‚ for the team and happy for AmaZulu and we march on.”

Leaders Sundowns have a point advantage over AmaZulu and two games in hand. McCarthy will hope the six teams that are still to face the Brazilians do them a favour and stop the rampant champions.

Usuthu will have to win their four remaining games starting with a clash against Baroka FC at home on May 11‚ Pirates away on May 19‚ Swallows FC on May 26 and finally  KZN rivals Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on the last day of the season on May 29.

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