DURBAN – Like him or not, Benni McCarthy is something on an iconic figure in South African football and everything he touches usually turns into gold. The Cape Town City boss is still a novice on the coaching front but he appears to be developing a good reputation. He is now in his second year in his new journey.
The all-time-leading goalscorer for Bafana is making strides with the Citizens, having already captured the MTN8 crown.
It is rare for young coaches to be thrust into the elite league and in less than two seasons take a team to two cup finals. But McCarthy has made it look easy.
It may be early to make an informed judgement whether the former FC Porto hitman is a suitable candidate for Bafana coach, but I believe he is worth a gamble. We have, after all, taken bigger gambles in the past … Brazilian Joel Santana springs to mind.
The other candidate deserving of a second chance is Pitso “Jingles” Mosimane but he has ruled himself out. I do, however, believe that Mosimane still has unfinished business with the national team following his first stint between 2010 and 2012.
Mosimane is passionate about continental competitions. In 2016, he steered Mamelodi Sundowns to a CAF Champions League triumph. The Kagiso-born coach added the CAF Super Cup a few months after leading Sundowns to greatness in Africa.
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His pre-seasons are always strategically held in other African countries.
Bafana are in desperate need of a coach who has a wealth of experience about the stresses that come with playing on the continent.
Mosimane is that man but unfortunately he is not keen on the Bafana job.
The other option, should, therefore be McCarthy. Yes, he has not proven himself at international level as a coach but he is a young manager with huge ambitions. Players have respect for him as he speaks his mind and will defend them when he feels they are being attacked unfairly.
We always talk about development. Benni is a developing coach. His accomplishments as a player and his ability to say things as they are make him a good candidate for the Bafana job that comes with immense pressure.
We now know that the South African Football Association (Safa) made a blunder when they appointed Stuart Baxter on a five year contract. Five years is a long time but you can afford to take that gamble on a young coach with aspirations. He can grow into his position in that period. In five years you’ve got two Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and the World Cup.
One of Baxter’s downfalls was to take continental competitions for granted when he was at Kaizer Chiefs. So, how do you expect him to be successful when he never gave his best in CAF club competitions?
Gavin Hunt could be another mentor to consider.
He has done it all on the domestic front but he, also, is yet to get an opportunity to prove himself at the international level with Bafana. His record in continental competitions is bad though. He is one of those coaches that doesn’t like the idea of competing in Africa.
As a player in 1998 McCarthy made his Afcon debut when Jomo Sono threw him in the deep end in Burkina Faso and the star was born.
John Comitis also threw him in the deep end two seasons ago. Let him show us what he can do for Bafana. Let us rather fail with a young manager.
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