Benni hails new generation

2012-06-01 07:37

Johannesburg - Despite lacklustre past soccer performances, Bafana Bafana all-time great Benni McCarthy believes this generation is "stronger" than squads from over a decade ago.

"The generation we have now is stronger from what I can remember when we were more successful," said McCarthy, who scored of South Africa's first-ever goal at the World Cup in 1998 in France.

"The [players today] are faster, stronger, more athletic.

"I admire the likes of [Andile] Jali and [Oupa] Manyisa, [Thulani] Serero, George Maluleka - and those are just a few names that I've mentioned."

The 34-year-old former Porto (Portugal), West Ham United (England) forward is in the sunset of an illustrious career at Orlando Pirates.

He aided the side in defending their Premiership title and win a successive treble of trophies in his first season back.

"If I was an agent, I'd send them to Real Madrid, Barcelona [both Spain], Chelsea [England]," said McCarthy.

"How come some are they still playing in our league?"

Bafana are on another re-building phase after disastrous failures in the 2010 and 2012 Afcon campaigns.

Having hosted the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the road to Brazil 2014 begins on Sunday with a Group A fixture against Ethiopia at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

"It's tough because we have the right ammunition, but maybe they have not been used properly [by coaches]," said McCarthy.

"That is why we have not being seeing success, it's about getting the right formula, then this generation can do things.

"Something is missing in the ingredients if you make a cake, take it out of the oven, and it collapses."

McCarthy, who spent 15 years in Europe, also spoke about the decreasing export of local talent and about those coming home early.

While it was a concern, McCarthy sympathised with the problems and strains players had to endure in another country.

The latest player to return is Bafana wingback Siboniso Gaxa, who has signed with Kaizer Chiefs for next season from Belgium.

"I don't know what the reasons for 'Pa' (Gaxa) coming back, but it takes courage to do that," he said.

"I can sympathise being in a situation where, if life becomes tough, you'd rather come home where you're loved than be unhappy and miserable in a foreign place.

"We have got to respect Gaxa's decision, he can still grow and do wonders for Chiefs, and get another chance for Europe.

"He's got his reasons, and I'm behind everybody."

In an overseas interview last week, former Chiefs' coach, Vladimir Vermezovic, labelled South African players talented but weak, lacking the needed "warrior" spirit.

McCarthy partly carried the same motion, while praising the hardships they endured that helped shape their careers.

The likes of Lucas Radebe, Mark Fish, Shaun Bartlett, Steve Komphela, John Moshoeu and Quinton Fortune were some of the country's most successful players abroad.

"We are a different breed because we came from hardships, and nothing that Europe threw your way was really hard," said McCarthy.

"I used to see people get shot in front of me [growing up in the Cape Flats, Cape Town].

"I'm all right. I'm a survivor, and know what hardships are.

"I went there for hunger and to make a great life for me and my family.

"Even though times were tough, you still pushed through, thinking: are things really tougher than where I come from?"


  • Ziggamann - 2012-06-01 08:47

    Good message for young players, hope Pitso gets the combinations right, hope he does not lose and create another crisis in bafana

  • Lawrence - 2012-06-01 09:07

    Benni was the best SA export. Keep up the good football at Pirates.

  • - 2012-06-01 09:10

    Well said Benny,

  • Lawrence - 2012-06-01 09:14

    Benni was the best SA export. Keep up the good football at Pirates.

  • Lawrence - 2012-06-01 09:14

    Benni was the best SA export. Keep up the good football at Pirates.

  • Lawrence - 2012-06-01 09:14

    Benni was the best SA export. Keep up the good football at Pirates.

  • Ronnie - 2012-06-01 09:43

    I hope he teaches them to stay in shape,

  • tsietsi.koza - 2012-06-01 10:24

    Well said Benni, players like Tshabalala ended up signing anada long term contract to chiefs while being linked to a move abroad nd thts not a motivating thing cz most players would say why must i go abroad while ada players are coming back nd adas resist a move abroad. I think thy must look @da likes of Pienaar and Ncongca thy still abroad enjyng thier stay. Not every player will b lucky like benni nd fish etc. Thier must take Risks in order to succed.

  • cosmas.ngwenya - 2012-06-01 10:38

    I fully agree with VV, SA players are talented but weak, lacking the needed "warrior" spirit, which i gues is the reason why he always queried why sm players must always be in the starting line up for chiefs, even if they deserve to be substituted. No player is untouchable. so as long as we stil have tht mentality, SA players will never survive abroad! Thanks for your msg Benni!

  • nkosinathi.dyantyi.9 - 2012-06-01 13:24

    Is the 1st time i agree with u bennie jali,manyisa,serero,maluleke,tshabalala,masilela r the best playrs

  • Hews - 2012-06-02 09:10

    They might b good players in our its abt time to deliver the best for de country like de 1996 squad did..

  • Desh - 2012-06-03 12:29

    Bennie it is time to get your coaching license. I beleieve that you have the experience and a great mind to lead Bafana as a coach. But this takes some years to develop and you should being serious involvement at clibe level.

      mpilo.buthelezi.1 - 2012-06-10 17:55

      Mmmmm dats a truly speaking he can lead bafana bafana as coach,bcz of hiz experience.

  • nbula1 - 2012-06-16 15:42

    Bafana bafana all great what????m saying this again,NEWS24,r reporting n journalism is very there n editor who checks these articles b4 they are published...

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