Benni McCarthy’s return to Bafana Bafana’s 18-area is imminent. But he won’t return as the national team’s deadly striker, who scored 31 goals during his international career. Instead he will return as coach. Here are five things he can bring in a new national role.
1. APPETITE TO WIN
Bafana’s failure to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations next year in Cameroon has painted an image of a team that has lacked the burning desire to win. After all, they unceremoniously lost to Sudan in their last qualifier, when they just needed a draw.
McCarthy is a natural-born winner. That he has led AmaZulu to being a serious title contender in just five months, establishing a record of nine wins in the last 10 Premiership matches, shows just how much his winning mentality has quickly rubbed off on his charges.
2. FAITH IN YOUNGSTERS
McCarthy rose to prominence after the faith shown in him by Gavin Hunt as a teenager. He has also embraced the norm of giving youngsters a chance. His proteges, such as Zekile Kewuti, are gradually becoming household names in the PSL.
The squad that will play at the Tokyo Olympics should form a cog of Bafana players.
McCarthy played in the Under-23s first qualification for the tournament in 2000, and that’s why he will be earmarking to plan his team around the likes of Teboho Mokoena.
3. BRINGING BACK THE LEGENDS
McCarthy has embraced the culture of old school. His incredible time at AmaZulu has come after he assembled his preferred technical team, including former Bafana players Siyabonga Nomvethe and Moeneeb Josephs who were a striker and goalkeeper respectively.
Reports are also rife that will bring the duo along when he officially assumes the Bafana hot seat at the end of this month. But that will possibly open up room for former players who have represented the national team to be back in the fold.
4. SELECTING QUALITY OVER EXPERIENCE
Former coach Molefi Ntseki had an appetite for selecting players based on experience than current form. The inclusion of Itumeleng Khune in Bafana’s last Afcon qualifier appeared to be a safe call as he is a highly-rated goalkeeper in South Africa.
McCarthy has proven that he is all about quality and form.
At AmaZulu, he has overlooked the experienced Siphiwe Tshabalala and last season’s top goal scorer Bonginkosi Ntuli, opting for the evergreen players such as Luvuyo Memela and Lehlohonolo Majoro.
5. A PATRIOT OF THE GAME
McCarthy has always called a “spade a spade.” Before he was sacked at Cape Town City almost two years ago, McCarthy was reported to be close to having a fall out with chairman John Comitis who didn’t want him to sign the players he preferred such as Mark Mayambela.
At Safa, president Danny Jordaan and the national executive committee call all the shots.
But do not expect McCarthy to just swallow the pill even if it’s bitter. He will speak his mind, of that we can be sure.