Now li­censed, McCarthy out to coach with same win­ning men­tal­ity he had as player

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - NJABULO NGIDI

KNOW what I bring,” Benni McCarthy said in that frank man­ner which­made him one of the most colour­ful foot­ballers this coun­try has ever pro­duced.

“I bring a win­ning men­tal­ity, my friend. I did it as a player and I am go­ing to do it as a coach.” He wasn’t brag­ging. It was Benni, be­ing Benni even though last week he re­ceived an im­por­tant piece of paper that gave him li­cense to brag.

The all-time Bafana Bafana top scorer (32 goals) got his Uefa A Li­cense that he was study­ing to­wards in Ire­land.

That piece of paper took McCarthy a step closer to re­al­is­ing his dream of be­ing a head coach in top flight foot­ball.

One of the clubs he would love to man­age is Or­lando Pi­rates.

The Buc­ca­neers are the last team McCarthy played for, be­fore he called an end to a glit­ter­ing ca­reer that saw him win the 2004 Uefa Cham­pi­ons League with FC Porto and fin­ish sec­ond in the 1998 Africa Cup of Na­tions with Bafana Bafana. But the 39-yearold knows that he has to earn his stripes be­fore he can man­age a club as big as Pi­rates.

“When I started with my coach­ing badges, I worked un­der Neil Len­non when he was at (Glas­gow) Celtic,” McCarthy said.

“I was just in the back­ground, work­ing with the strik­ers and see­ing how ev­ery­thing is done. I was look­ing at how he pre­pares train­ing ses­sions, how he pre­pares for matches and how he analy­ses play­ers.

“I was there for eight months. They were in the Cham­pi­ons League and then I had to start with my Uefa B Coach­ing Li­cense.

McCarthy con­tin­ued: “I also got an­other op­por­tu­nity from a friend of mine that I also played with, Alan Stubbs, at Hibbs (Scot­land side, Hiber­nian FC).

“I was in the city that I stayed in, Ed­in­burgh. He asked me just to come and help out.

“It was an op­por­tu­nity for me to be around a team, play­ers and just see how things are done.

“I learned how to deal with play­ers in­di­vid­u­ally. I have shad­owed coaches who have trans­formed from play­ers to coaches.

“I had two years of learn­ing at Celtic and Hibs. And then I was ap­pointed as­sis­tant coach at Sint Truiden (in Bel­gium).

“It’s good to steal ideas from other coaches and then tweak them here and there to make them your own. “The jour­ney for me con­tin­ues. “You never stop to learn. I am here to learn. If I man­age one day, I will con­tinue to learn.”

McCarthy de­scribed the path he took to be a Uefa A Li­cense holder as a jour­ney of self-dis­cov­ery, trans­form­ing from a per­son whose fo­cus was mainly on him­self and then the team sec­ond.

As a coach, the team comes first.

“I am ex­tremely proud that I had the guts and de­ter­mi­na­tion to stick around to com­plete my coach­ing badges,” McCarthy said.

“I still have one more to go, the Pro Li­cense, which is the ul­ti­mate. “It was a tough jour­ney. “It gave me an un­der­stand­ing of how the game works be­cause I knew the game as a player, what I had to do to make my­self play good and how to pre­pare for games.

“But do­ing the coach­ing badges pre­pares you on how to deal with play­ers and a team, not just one in­di­vid­ual.

“Those are qual­i­ties that you don’t have as a player.

“When you make that tran­si­tion, from a foot­baller to a coach, you start to re­alise that there is more to foot­ball than just wor­ry­ing about your­self.”

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