South Africa were drawn in Group A in Durban yesterday, alongside Morocco, Angola and Cape Verde.
It is the small island nation's first Afcon, but they have a strong footballing culture.
Portugal's Nani was born in Cape Verde, former Sweden international Henrik Larsson's father is Cape Verdean, as is former France captain Patrick Vieira's mother.
"Cape Verde has a huge immigrant base in Portugal and Holland and most of their players play in big clubs in these countries," McCarthy tells Pirates' official website.
"I played with a lot of great players from there while I was in Portugal and I can attest that they are very good ..."
Meanwhile, according to Bucs' website, McCarthy is in the last week of his rehabilitation programme and should rejoin full training next week.