South Africa host Guinea Bissau and Angola in two friendly encounters over the next week, kicking off a busy 2017 for the senior national team, with 20 matches scheduled in total.
Following a Nation’s Cup qualifier against Nigeria in June, Bafana Bafana face Cape Verde in a crucial double-header in September in their attempt to qualify for Russia 2018.
And McCarthy, Bafana’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 31 goals, feels the two upcoming friendlies provide the perfect preparation ahead of the side’s Cape Verde test later this year.
“The opposition is perfect to experiment against: Guinea-Bissau and Angola are two teams that play in a similar style to Cape Verde as most of them play their club football in the Portuguese league,” he tells KickOff.com. “That whole Cape Verde team plays in Portugal, so these opponents will play a very similar type of football which will be good preparation ahead of the World Cup qualifiers, where it matters most.
“The guys can adapt and get accustomed to playing against this type of opposition, which will be a step in the right direction.”
McCarthy says he’s very excited about the 25-man squad that was called up, and expressed his delight at some of the names he’s looking forward to seeing in action for the national team.
“The most exciting name of the lot for me is Percy Tau, as well as Luther Singh,” he says. “I was very pleased to see Kamohelo Mokotjo called up again – he’s played a good six years in Holland, where he’s a regular first-team player. So he has a lot of European experience – these are the type of players we need in the national team. I am very happy with the selection, very happy.”
Bafana Bafana are in camp in Durban ahead of Saturday’s clash against Guinea Bissau at Moses Mabhida Stadium, before heading to East London for Tuesday’s encounter against Angola.