Sure I have goals, but for now it’s club before country for me, says Benni

CAPE TOWN – Benni McCarthy makes no secret of the fact that the Bafana Bafana job is pencilled in on the ambitious coaching journey he has embarked upon.

However, for those who expect him to be in the running if Stuart Baxter, the current SA national football coach, quits or is fired, there’s some bad news: Bafana may be in McCarthy’s future, but certainly not anytime soon.

Since retiring from the game as a player, McCarthy has quickly equipped himself as a coach – he has a Uefa Pro badge, the highest qualification in Europe – and he also set himself various coaching goals.

In reflecting on his ambitions as a coach, McCarthy said that, right now, there is only one objective fuelling his drive to succeed: to inspire Cape Town City to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) title.

“I’ve set goals for the team and myself,” said McCarthy. “We are going for the PSL title. I’ve had two seasons in which I’ve learnt a lot, worked hard, and the team has been there and thereabouts (City finished fifth in McCarthy’s first season and fourth in the second).

“I started this project at City and I want to cap it off with something special. After that, the plan is to educate myself even further by coaching in Europe. And then, one day, come back and take the national team (Bafana) where it’s supposed to be “

McCarthy’s name as the next Bafana coach has regularly been bandied about.

But, as the City coach says, Bafana will come – just not right now.

He doesn’t feel that he is ready as yet. As a young coach, he feels he needs to continue on in the learning phase of his burgeoning coaching career. In his third season as a head coach, McCarthy readily admits that he still has a long way to go.

“Every year has been a great learning curve.

“I’ve always said that I want to be the kind of coach who has a relationship with his players, so that every single player can understand me. He knows what I want from him and he also knows what not to do to get on my wrong side.

“It’s getting there I would say I am about a quarter of the way to where I want to be.”

Benni McCarthy 1778 - Sure I have goals, but for now it's club before country for me, says Benni
Cape Town City head coach Benni McCarthy at the teams players awards 2019. Photo: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

As the new season approaches, McCarthy is dealing with some injury issues.

“Taariq Fielies had his appendix removed and will need some time to recover. It’s a bit of a defensive crisis because I also have two other defenders injured – Edmilson Dove and Kouassi Kouadja. Also, midfielders Roland Putsche and Thabo Nodada are both a month away from action.”

The two new players who have been signed are Abbubaker Mobara and Tashreeq Morris. Both are from Mitchell’s Plain and both are graduates from the famed Ajax Cape Town youth academy.

McCarthy has been very impressed with what he has seen from the duo during pre-season and he is expecting big things from them.

Rodney Reiners

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