Safa closes in on deal to secure Benni McCarthy as next Bafana coach

30 April 2021 - 12:07 By Marc Strydom‚ Sazi Hadebe And Mahlatse Mphahlele
Benni McCarthy has agreed in principle to be the next Bafana Bafana coach
Benni McCarthy has agreed in principle to be the next Bafana Bafana coach
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Benni McCarthy has agreed in principle to be the next Bafana Bafana coach‚ TimesLIVE is informed‚ however there could still be stumbling blocks to a deal being concluded.

One stumbling block is that the SA Football Association (Safa) has to convince AmaZulu to release their coach‚ which may be difficult as Sandile Zungu‚ chairman of the high-flying Durban club‚ has said he will not release McCarthy.

Even if Safa do convince Zungu otherwise‚ a deal would have to include paying out a significant amount to have McCarthy released from his contract at Usuthu.

Safa CEO Tebogo Motlanthe met McCarthy in Cape Town on Wednesday evening after AmaZulu thrashed Cape Town City 5-1 in their DStv Premiership match at Cape Town Stadium‚ sources have revealed.

McCarthy agreed in principle to be appointed the next Bafana coach‚ and agreed on a salary. A requirement on his part‚ though‚ is that he chooses his technical staff and is allowed to bring AmaZulu work-mates Siyabonga Nomvete as his assistant and Moeneeb Josephs as goalkeeper-coach.

Motlanthe would have to clear these requirements with Safa’s national executive committee (NEC).

McCarthy was among five names on a shortlist presented by Safa’s technical committee to the NEC on Saturday. Three of the others‚ sources have revealed‚ were Portuguese Carlos Queiroz‚ Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane and Kaizer Chiefs coach Gavin Hunt. The fifth name was either Saudi Arabia coach Herve Renard or Belgian Hugo Broos.

Safa had posted on Twitter it would announce the coach on Saturday‚ but that announcement was postponed. Sources have revealed Queiroz was approached but declined to accept Safa’s offer.

McCarthy was asked about the national coaching job at a pre-match press conference on Thursday for second-placed AmaZulu’s big league Durban derby against third-placed Lamontville Golden Arrows. Bafana’s all-time top scorer was adamant his loyalties lie with his club.

“When you do well and you become successful you get linked to everything‚” McCarthy said.

“In my life as a footballer and now as a coach I have suffered many disappointments because I have followed my heart and not Benni McCarthy.

“But as time went by I learned to understand my body and how it works‚ where as much as my heart loves something‚ the gut is what you really have to follow.

“I had one of the biggest disappointments in my life when I was still a player when I could have join Chelsea‚ but I sat down with my heart. The whole thing ended up almost costing me my career.

We speak with four sports journalists to try figure out how the mighty Bafana Bafana who won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 went on to being ranked 75th in the world in 2021.

“My heart wanted to be at the bigger club‚ play for the best manager [Jose Mourinho] in the world at the time‚ and then when it didn’t happen I got slashed in a million pieces. Then I had to start all over again.

“ I’ve made myself understand that battle better and now I don’t want to make the same mistakes.

“As delicious as Bafana sounds and all that‚ I’m very happy [at AmaZulu] and I love what I’m doing there. I come in with the biggest smile on my face and when I see my players they give me the same joy.

“My wife sees me and my kids see me so while I have that‚ I’m not hungry and my eyes are not bigger than my belly.

“ I’m very happy where I am‚ I love what I have‚ so whatever these rumours are when you do well‚ it’s just a shame.

“I’m very much with AmaZulu and my players know my feelings. My players know what I do every day in training. No big changes. We just work hard at AmaZulu.”

The deal with ex-Bafana‚ Portugal and Real Madrid manager Queiroz falling through has left Safa scrambling for a viable alternative under considerable time pressure. The 2022 World Cup qualifiers begin with Bafana’s game against Zimbabwe in Harare on the weekend of June 5 and 6.

Attempts to contact Motlanthe for comment were not successful at the time of publishing.