Rewind a year. Benni McCarthy had just lifted his first piece of silverware as a manager with Cape Town City, becoming the toast of South African football. Now, however, after a torrid run of results he finds himself jobless, proving that football waits for no man, writes DEAN WORKMAN.
The former Bafana Bafana star is undoubtedly one of South Africa’s greatest-ever players, having been the only South African to win the Uefa Champions League during a stellar stint across Europe, while also finishing his career as Bafana’s highest-ever goalscorer.
He made his first step into management with the relatively newly formed Cape Town City, which looked to be the perfect match from the outset.
Last year Benni was heading into his first full season as City coach and had just secured his Uefa pro license to become the highest-qualified coach in the Absa Premiership.
Playing an exciting, expansive and entertaining brand of football, City went on to win the MTN8 with victory over SuperSport United, handing the former FC Porto striker his first trophy as a manager and City their second title as a club.
The Citizens continued to perform as they pushed themselves into the title race heading into the back end of the campaign, but ultimately fell short as they finished fourth.
McCarthy’s reputation as a coach received a significant boost in his first full campaign in charge and it came as no surprise as many fans, coaches and the media threw his name into the hat for the Bafana Bafana job when Stuart Baxter stepped down in August.
Benni, though, stayed committed to City. But now, just a couple of months later and after a run of just two wins in 18 games, he has been shown the door at the Cape Town club. The team is sitting 13th on the Absa Premiership log, with eight points from nine games, having been knocked out in the first round of both the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout.
City’s decision has shocked many in South African football. Yes, the current results were deemed not good enough by the club, but their performances were not far off and with a bit of luck McCarthy could have quickly turned their fortunes around.
The decision yet again highlights the impulsiveness and reactiveness of South African and modern football in general.
Clubs are no longer willing to wait and show patience with coaches, no matter how big their reputation or status in the game.
McCarthy is a young coach who has already shown he has what it takes to be successful. This will undoubtedly be a big learning curve and he will certainly come out stronger on the other end as a better coach.
That future will not be at Cape Town City, however, because football in the modern era waits for no man.
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