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Why did South African ‘clowns’ not value Benni McCarthy?

21:54 WAT 17/01/2023
Benni McCarthy, Manchester United, July 2022
A hero in Manchester, did Benni McCarthy not get the respect he deserves back home?

There was much talk of celebration and delight among the South African footballing fraternity after Marc Rashford’s masterclass in Saturday’s Manchester Derby, with Benni McCarthy being heralded as the mastermind behind the triumph.

Indeed, the Bafana Bafana all-time top scorer was hailed as being the reason behind Rashford’s remarkable upturn in fortunes, with the England striker now having scored eight goals in his last seven matches.

McCarthy’s name was being cheered on South African social media for the rest of the weekend, with the United attacking coach being identified as one of the key reasons why Rashford had such a decisive role in the victory over Manchester City.

However, there were also some South African fans who pointed out how the striker was not truly appreciated as a coach in his homeland, acknowledging how blind those in the Rainbow Nation are to the ex-Orlando Pirates’ talents in the dugout.

“International supporters of Man United won’t know that, in his home country of South Africa, our clowns did not value Benni McCarthy,” Khaya Sibulele Koko wrote on his @khayakoko88 handle. “Same with Pitso Mosimane.

“As a country, our football will not progress until the death of [Irvin] Khoza, [Danny] Jordaan et al.”

Does the vocal user have a point?

It’s true, on one hand, that McCarthy was rarely celebrated as emphatically by the entire ZA football fraternity in his homeland as he has been in recent weeks and months following his work in Eric ten Hag’s backroom staff and specifically working with Rashford.

He was dismissed at both Cape TownCity and AmaZulu in his second season following promising starts—and maiden campaigns—at both employers.

With the first, he won silverware but lost the faith of club owners after just two wins in 18 matches, while his time in Durban ended despite overseeing their qualification to the Caf Champions League.

A breakdown in communications was one of the reasons why the ex-striker departed from AmaZulu, but perhaps, in hindsight, they ought to have given Benni more time to turn around the club’s plight…didn’t he at least deserve that after his achievements during his maiden campaign?

Perhaps rumours about Benni being difficult to work with contributed to his struggles as a PSL coach, perhaps objectively, the situation he left both clubs in is evidence that it was right for him to be dismissed.

Certainly, the fact he got jobs at both CTC and AmaZulu suggests that there has been some faith in his qualities among South African club owners, so perhaps describing them as ‘clowns’ is a little harsh!

Nonetheless, if and when Benni does seek employment back in his homeland in the future, his work at Manchester United should ensure he’s held in higher esteem by his compatriots.