Benni McCarthy: Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates to battle for former Bafana Bafana striker?

17:51 WAT 22/04/2022
Benni McCarthy, head coach of AmaZulu.
The Uefa Champions League winner and ex-Bucs striker has been without a job since parting ways with Usuthu on March 25 this year

Kaizer Chiefs' sacking of Stuart Baxter could see them jumping Orlando Pirates in the queue for the signature of Benni McCarthy, the former AmaZulu and Cape Town City head coach.

There has long been speculation that having once played for Pirates, McCarthy would coach the club one day. That talk increased when the Capetonian left AmaZulu. Bucs do of course have Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncikazi in charge, the pair acting as caretaker co-coaches on an indefinite basis, following the surprise exit of Josef Zinnbauer just two games into the season.

But now, with Baxter gone and Chiefs on the hunt for a new coach (unless they decide instead to promote Arthur Zwane on a full-time basis), McCarthy looks as good a bet as any to be given the Chiefs job.

Such is his stature, character and relative success in his fledgling coaching career, the former Ajax Amsterdam, Celta Vigo, Porto, West Ham and Blackburn striker would surely be welcomed by the fans.

Because Amakhosi must know that they need to please their supporters, in what are trying times for the team. With the possible exception of Gavin Hunt, none of Baxter, Ernst Middendorp, Giovanni Solinas nor Steve Komphela were particularly warmly welcomed by all of the fans.

It would really help galvanise Chiefs' efforts to get back to the top of South African football if they are able to appoint a manager who excites the fans and who commands the respect of the players and all the staff.

As a South African and former player, there would be no issues with communication and with understanding local culture, as can be the way when PSL clubs decide to go foreign.

And while McCarthy may command a substantial salary, it's probable he wouldn't cost as much as a foreigner used to earning Euros.

Certainly, he ticks a lot of boxes and with his name being linked to Chiefs all over the various media platforms, one can be sure that he'll be in the Amakhosi hierarchy's discussions.

For Pirates fans who had been hoping that Benni might have been the next Bucs boss, the timing of Baxter's Chiefs exit will have caused concern.

It is possible also that Pirates - should they indeed be looking to make managerial changes, have already engaged with McCarthy in discussions about next season.

In that case, things could get very interesting should Chiefs also express interest. Certainly the timing seems right for McCarthy, who might even be made to choose between the two Soweto giants.