DURBAN – Cape Town City chairman John Comitis is prepared to meet Benni McCarthy and explore common ground.
The duo have not spoken for nearly six months following McCarthy’s departure from the Citizens. Their relationship goes back to 1997 when McCarthy burst onto the scene as a young footballer.
McCarthy signalled his intention of burying the hatchet with Comitis when he spoke to journalists earlier this week. Comitis responded that he has no issues with the former Bafana Bafana marksman.
“I have no problem with Benni McCarthy who has been a very close friend to me. Football is football. I’ve known Benni from a young age. If he calls me, I’ll be happy to hear from him. I have big respect for Benni, he is a South African legend,” Comitis answered when asked if he was willing to iron out matters with McCarthy.
The 42-year-old coach is in Scotland and hunting for a job. Comitis’s relationship with him goes back to the days of the defunct Seven Stars FC.
“Benni was with Seven Stars and unfortunately at that time when I had a relationship with Rob Moore, Seven Stars were not in the Premier League. So, we did a loan deal with Cape Town Spurs which allowed him to come in.
“He was still a youngster and we played him at wide right wing. A couple of the coaches suggested that we play him as a striker. We threw him up front and he was unbelievable. He scored against Free State Stars and scored twice against Kaizer Chiefs and the rest was history,” Comitis reminisced.
From there McCarthy went on to become the all-time leading goalscorer for Bafana Bafana. To date, he is still the only South African player to have lifted the Uefa Champions League.
“We played a small role in getting him where he is but ultimately he would have got there on his own. We can’t take that away from him. He just grew from strength to strength.
“Benni had the right mentality and the right character. That’s why he got to where he is now,” he added.
Even after his departure from the Citizens, Comitis holds McCarthy in the highest regard.
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“No matter how big the situation, Benni always come up with solutions and smiles. Nothing fazes him, he is always about positivity. He believes in himself and that’s why he got the results here (at Cape Town City).
“No matter how big the manager is, across the world at some stage relationships end. That doesn’t take away the ability that he has and what he has done.
“We wish him all the best. He is destined for bigger things and he will make it,” Comitis stated.
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