Benni: Silva is SA’s next superstar

City face Downs in their first-leg MTN8 semi-final on Saturday, and have lost their last two encounters against The Brazilians in which departed duo Percy Tau and Khama Billiat found the back of the net.

Opposition coach Pitso Mosimane recently admitted his side are missing their talented pair, yet McCarthy, who acknowledged the exceptional traits they brought to the team, believes they will quickly be forgotten based on the quality the Pretoria giants have roped in.

“Psychologically it is a big loss for them [Sundowns], and the new players haven’t really settled in and found their feet‚" McCarthy said.

“But it still doesn’t stop them from having the same quality that they had and the players that they have brought in have foreign experience‚ so they should be better equipped than what the likes of Percy and Billiat gave them.

“The strength with those two was that they were both lightening quick and they were both deadly in front of goal. That’s why they were able to punish most teams.

“With time‚ once these new guys settle in and find their feet‚ I think they [Sundowns] are going to be as clinical, or probably even more so, than what they were because they did make some exceptional buys.”

One of those new buys, Silva, received his first official taste of PSL football on Wednesday, coming on as a substitute in his side’s goalless draw against Highlands Park.

And McCarthy tips the Guinea-Bissau international, who he remembers from his time at Benfica when the City coach was at Portuguese giants Porto, to become the PSL’s next big thing.

“One player I saw when I was at Porto was Toni Silva,” he said. “He’s a player who interested me a lot. He came on the field on Wednesday and made a cameo appearance. What a player! World class! World class player!

“I think once he is unleashed, then South Africa is going to have a new superstar playing in our domestic league because he’s just a class above most players we have. He comes with pedigree and with European experience and he’s been at youth level at Benfica and at Liverpool‚ and I don’t think you get a better education than at those two clubs at youth level, and now he’s at Sundowns.”