Benni is City’s Zidane
I will work hard as a coach, just as I did as a player, says rookie McCarthy
BENNI McCarthy is confident in his ability to transfer his playing success to his coaching career. He has never been someone who shirks a challenge – so, when the Cape Town City offer came along, he thought about it briefly, then tackled the opportunity head on.
When City was established as a PSL club last June, owner John Comitis was vocal about his vision of galvanising football in the Mother City, and of his new club capturing the imagination of the country.
They did so last season, winning the Telkom Knockout and finishing third on the PSL standings, but when coach Eric Tinkler left to join SuperSport United last week, Comitis was left with a a headache.So, in keeping with his notion of doing things big, he called up McCarthy. Instead of recycling the old deadwood coaches who perform the annual merry-go-round in the PSL, Comitis opted to give the untried 39-year-old McCarthy his first job as a head coach.
“Benni’s history is well-documented,” said Comitis. “He graced the pitches all over Europe and he is back now where he belongs. Here he can change the lives of Capetonians. He is the right fit for City and I believe he can take the team to the next level. Here he has an opportunity to add to his legacy and build something for the future.
“I spent 10 minutes talking to him and I could sense he understands the game and knows the flavour of the dressing-room. Like Real Madrid did in taking a chance on former star Zinedine Zidane, so I think we can achieve with Benni at the helm.”
McCarthy cannot wait to get the job started.
“The Cape is where I started as a player and this is where I am starting my coaching career,” said the former Bafana Bafana striker. “As a player I was ambitious, I always wanted to be successful; as a coach, I have the same attitude.
“There will of course be questions. It’s my first time in charge, I’m inexperienced… But over the years, as a player, I’ve worked with many coaches and they all had to start somewhere. Someone had to take a chance on them… For example, when Ajax Amsterdam signed me when I was 17, they didn’t know what they were getting. It was a gamble, they didn’t know whether I would succeed or not. So everybody has to start somewhere and I have to thank City for giving me this opportunity.
“I will work hard, I don’t know any other way to do things. City have had a great season and I just want to build on that. It’s my first opportunity as a head coach and it’s in my home town. With the support of everybody at City, I want to make Cape football alive again. I want us to compete with the big guns in the PSL.”
McCarthy explained how the offer to coach City came about.
“I was at home back in Scotland watching the tennis at Roland Garros when my phone rang,” he said. “I could see it was the chairman (Comitis) and I knew, especially after reading that Eric (Tinkler) was going to SuperSport, what the call was about. But I thought about it initially – I knew if I picked up the phone, my fiveyear plan with regard to my coaching licences and picking up the necessary experience would be out of the window. But I decided to take a leap of faith, I answered…
“I’m already working on the steps I want to take, the things I want to do,” he said. “But most of all, as a coach, I want to help players become better and I want them to achieve.”
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