Can Cape Town’s favourite son do the job for City?

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MA­ZOLA MOLEFE SOC­CER WRITER @su­per­journo

BENNI is in the 18-area, in case you haven’t heard. The Cape Town City area as the new head coach, and McCarthy re­places his ex-Bafana Bafana col­league Eric Tin­kler, who joined Su­perS­port United last week.

Nat­u­rally there is ex­cite­ment and there is some doubt. Will a fig­ure as loved as the all-time na­tional top goalscorer take the Mother City club to greater heights, a step fur­ther than a third place fin­ish and a Telkom Knock­out tro­phy un­der Tin­kler’s lead­er­ship dur­ing the 2016/17 sea­son? Or will it all end in tears, given that McCarthy doesn’t quite fit the cri­te­ria of a proven Premier Soc­cer League coach?

Well, the proof will be in the pud­ding.

McCarthy, 39, has – in the sev­eral years since his re­tire­ment –worked hard at at­tain­ing the nec­es­sary qual­i­fi­ca­tions, serv­ing as a striker con­sul­tant at Scot­tish side Hiber­nian and be­ing roped in by South Africa-raised Chris O’Lough­lin as as­sis­tant at Bel­gian club Sint Truiden for a short time last year. It’s pos­si­ble that eye­brows wouldn’t be raised if McCarthy had been ap­pointed coach of Baroka FC or Polok­wane City for in­stance, but City have had such great suc­cess from the time busi­ness­man John Comi­tis bought the Mpumalanga Black Aces fran­chise a year ago, re­lo­cated the club to Cape Town, and hired Tin­kler.

In that sense, they are con­sid­ered a se­ri­ous team – one that is likely to con­tinue chal­leng­ing for honours year af­ter year. And maybe McCarthy just isn’t ready?

But then again – he is Benni. Larger than life, been around the block as a player as well as a pro­tégé to an ex­tent. Soon af­ter re­tir­ing in 2013, hav­ing helped Orlando Pi­rates win another tre­ble, McCarthy set his sights on coach­ing cour­ses and get­ting ready to give back, with a view from the dugout this time around.

It would be im­pos­si­ble to deny the ar­gu­ment that he should have started from the bot­tom be­fore mak­ing his way up the PSL food chain. But his ap­point­ment could still prove a mas­ter­stroke. Comi­tis, who had the op­tion of veter­ans in Dutch­man Ruud Krol and Turk­ish-born Muhsin Er­tu­gral, two coaches well-versed with what is needed to suc­ceed in the PSL, clearly has com­plete trust in McCarthy as he de­cided on the only South African to win an Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons League medal.

Tin­kler is the best ex­am­ple of “work­ing your way up”. It took him nearly 10 years af­ter his re­tire­ment be­fore he could hold the title of head coach, and it was at a side with an in­cred­i­ble stature in Pi­rates af­ter he’d served as as­sis­tant to Roger de Sa and Vladimir Ver­me­zovic. Look at him now. By the way, you can’t please ev­ery­one. Tin­kler still has de­trac­tors, who feel it was too early for him to be given the Su­perS­port gig.

Another for­mer Bafana striker – Shaun Bartlett – is cur­rently out in the trenches, des­per­ately try­ing to get the Univer­sity of Pre­to­ria back into the elite league af­ter they were rel­e­gated two sea­sons ago. Bartlett also saw to it that Golden Ar­rows achieved pro­mo­tion in May 2015, but was un­for­tu­nately sacked prior to the start of the new sea­son.

Some will ar­gue McCarthy hasn’t been in the trenches, while others will counter by claim­ing he’s done his bit in that depart­ment, and the job at City is noth­ing he can’t han­dle.

Only a few more weeks be­fore we know for sure.

Good luck Benni.

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