Benni McCarthy on SA football

21 July 2021 - 16:00 By Marc Strydom
AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy.
AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Orlando Pirates were disappointing in 2020-21‚ while Kaizer Chiefs only salvaged something at the end‚ AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy has said‚ adding that he hopes SA’s giants have a revival in the coming campaign.

Former Buccaneer McCarthy was speaking during the digital media launch for the Carling Black Label Cup‚ which will be played in front of a closed Orlando Stadium next week Saturday (July 31).

He said the participants in the annual preseason match‚ SA giants Chiefs and Pirates‚ provide the drama and the bulk of the fans at stadiums‚ so their success is crucial for SA football and the DStv Premiership.

“Listen‚ I think Pirates had a disappointing season by their standards‚ with all the signings they made‚ collecting a lot of top-class players from Bidvest Wits‚ and not being able to challenge Mamelodi Sundowns for the title,” McCarthy said.

“Or challenge me‚ at AmaZulu‚ for second place. So‚ yes‚ by their standards it’s a bit of a disappointing season.

“Kaizer Chiefs‚ on the other hand‚ were restricted by the Fifa ban‚ they brought in coach Gavin Hunt and it was a complete disaster. But then it got turned around right at the end.

“They managed to go to the Champions League final‚ where I think they did themselves justice and did SA proud‚ because up until they went a man down they were still in it‚ and anything could have happened. They could have maybe even been crowned champions if they didn’t lose Happy Mashiane [to a red card]‚ and we will never know.

“So‚ yeah‚ they kind of salvaged their season playing in the final‚ and finishing in the [PSL] top eight at the last hurdle.

“So‚ ja‚ both of the giant teams didn’t have the best of seasons. So this season they’ve been spending again.

“Chiefs have gone guns blazing; they’re buying everyone under the sun. They want to make up for the season they had.

“So I think this game [the Black Label] is going to give us an idea on where these two teams are‚ in terms of challenging Sundowns and challenging my AmaZulu for the top honours this season.

“I hope it’s going to be a spectacle, because in SA football we need Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates to be at the top of their game‚ because that’s when our league becomes so interesting and entertaining.

“Because those two teams provide the competition‚ and the atmosphere‚ and when the fans are allowed back in the stadium‚ they provide the fans. So we need these two teams to really get up there with the likes of Sundowns for our league to take the huge strides we need.”

Josef Zinnbauer’s Pirates won the MTN8 in 2020-21‚ and ended third in the Premiership behind winners Sundowns and second-placed AmaZulu. They exited in the quarterfinals of the Caf Confederation Cup.

Chiefs‚ having brought in four-time league winner Gavin Hunt‚ scrambled eighth place in the league from two wins from their last two games‚ after Hunt’s dismissal. They lost 3-0 to Al Ahly as the shock entrants to the Caf Champions League final in Morocco on Saturday‚ having never previously reached the group stage.