S'Busiso Mseleku

Benni needs to pay his coaching dues!

2017-02-03 10:45
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)

South Africans have a tendency of killing sportspeople’s careers by either heaping too much praise on them or putting them under severe - sometimes uncalled for - pressure.

I’ve seen many young players get touted as the "best thing ever to come out of this country" even before they are out of their nappies only for their fledgling careers to dissipate like dew at the sight of the sun.

There are many players who were said to be going to be the backbone of Bafana Bafana come 2010, the year the country hosted the Soccer World Cup but by the time the event came to our shores, they had disappeared from the limelight.

So it was with trepidation that I read and heard the media touting Benni McCarthy as the suitable candidate for the vacant posts at Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates.

This speculation which was obviously driven from some quarters came just a week after the announcement that the Irish Football Association had conferred McCarthy with an UEFA 'A' Diploma in coaching.

I must say I was excited to hear him pronounce that it is too early for him to take over the reigns as Bafana Bafana mentor.

“I’m too young to coach Bafana. I would want to start at club level to learn quickly every day. The Bafana job is for established coaches like Gavin Hunt or Pitso Mosimane. At national level, you sit for two months without coaching, and when matches come, pressure can be unbearable,” he said.

That’s my man! I muttered.

Given that McCarthy’s only coaching stint was as an assistant coach with Belgium club Sint-Truiden, the Bafana job will just be too much for him.

And then he commented on the Pirates speculation: "The chairman (Dr Irvin Khoza) is a very busy man - no one from Pirates has spoken to me. I wouldn't say no to Pirates. If they approached me, I would grab the job with both hands.

"I feel like part of the furniture and the family there. It would be a huge blessing for me - and I'd be just like Zinedine Zidane and Pep Guardiola coaching the clubs they once played for.

"When I arrived at Pirates as a player, it was a match made in heaven. The supporters loved me and gave me the best send-off when I retired. The club gave me a platform to leave a legacy in South Africa and I boosted the club with my performances."

I felt like saying no, Benni, no!

The warm welcome he received as player at Pirates could turn into a cold current within a jiffy should results not go his way.

The 39-year-old was no slouch as a player and broke many records including winning a Champions League gold medal, however, he needs to be honest and admit that in coaching, he is a novice.

McCarthy needs to undergo his apprenticeship under a well-grounded, experienced coach, someone like Mosimane, Hunt or Stuart Baxter.

It is only after doing that that he can start standing on his own. But even then, he will have to start from the bottom up and not with the likes of Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, clubs that are known for chewing and then spitting out coaches.

Taking the short cut, would be suicidal for McCarthy who has so much promise.

You need to first pay your school fees Benni!

S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

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