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PSL

Rashford praise for Benni McCarthy highlights where SA soccer is missing out

16:01 EAT 17/11/2022
Rashford Garnacho Manchester United Villa 2022-23
The Old Trafford marksman ensured his place at the Qatar World Cup thanks to his much-improved form for the Red Devils this term

The rejuvenation of Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford has coincided with Benni McCarthy's arrival at the Old Trafford side.

At one point Rashford had even been linked with a move away from Manchester United, but now the smile has been back on his face and he's firing in the goals again.

Prior to this, it took many by surprise when former Orlando Pirates, Bafana Bafana, Porto and Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy was asked by the manager, Eric ten Hag, to take on the role of forwards coach at Old Trafford.

But with both Rashford and Anthony Martial (when fit), showing much-improved goal-scoring form, it looks like it was a wise move to appoint the former Cape Town City and AmaZulu head coach.

Speaking to United's media recently, Rashford confirmed McCarthy's positive influence.

"I still feel like I can get a lot more goals from headers. I just feel like if I gamble more, I'll score more headers," Rashford told club media as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
"He's [McCarthy] definitely helped me a lot. To have those attack-minded coaches within the squad is great for us forward players," Rashford explained. "It's just day in, day out, we're thinking about scoring goals, rather than the other bits.

"We've got him always there, speaking to us about it. I think my aim is to get back to enjoying my football and at the minute I am, so I'm not complaining. If I'm scoring goals and winning, then I'm happy."

SA soccer goal-scoring crisis

For all the skill and flair possessed by South African footballers, there has been a serious lack of proper goal scorers over the past 15 years. It’s probably the main reason for Bafana’s flagging fortunes on the global stage.

On many occasions it's been foreign-born marksmen who have won the PSL Golden Boot award and who are signed by the big clubs such as Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns.

Meanwhile, there are numerous legendary ex-PSL and Bafana Bafana strikers around who could have been employed by either PSL clubs, or by Safa, but who were left on the sidelines.

McCarthy's impact in England is now showing how experience and expertise can help in the striking department, and hopefully the powers-that-be in the PSL and Safa are taking note.

Ideally, all PSL and even First Division clubs should have full-time striker coaches, like they do goalkeeping coaches.

Putting the ball in the back of the net is after all the most important thing in football, but also the hardest.

And longer term, striker coaches should be rolled out at junior level in South Africa because that’s where the real development and improvements can be made.