Cape Town - Benni McCarthy will forever be indebted to Cape Town City boss John Comitis for having the guts to trust him to lead his team.
McCarthy says it took courage for someone to have faith in a youngster to run with his assets and livelihood.
He says Comitis showed confidence in “an inexperienced guy at a time when club bosses rejected former players and were recycling old coaches”.
For that, he will forever give his all to the club.
“A lot of people don’t believe that former players are capable of becoming coaches and succeeding. They don’t trust that we can do the job. It takes massive 'ostrich huevos' (Spanish slang for testicles) to take a risk on someone who had never even coached the Under-10s,” McCarthy said after his team knocked Orlando Pirates out of the Nedbank Cup on Wednesday.
“Prior to my getting the job, there were the likes of Shaun Bartlett, but people don’t take chances any more. Fadlu (Davids, the coach of Maritzburg United) always did internships, and then someone else with experience would come and take over. They never really wanted to invest in us, but now it is nice to see former players getting opportunities.”
He says that, when he took up the post, he was not afraid to fail.
“If you take this job, you are going to fail along the way. That is the risk you must be prepared to take. I’m only going to get better because the first year is the learning curve and I made mistakes along the way.”
McCarthy’s target is simple and he is already on track to achieving it.
“My mission was to avoid relegation. Keeping them in the league would be the biggest achievement.”
Now his aim is to finish in a respectable position, but he’s not optimistic about a repeat of last season’s top-three finish.
“I’m not sure if we are capable of doing that again, although the players are showing up for a fight. There are still a lot of games to be played and anything can happen.”
He says finishing in the top eight will mean a hugely successful season for him.
“Remember, I had never coached before coming here.”
McCarthy regards beating Bidvest Wits four times this season as his biggest achievement.
“Not taking anything away from Pirates, but Wits are the defending champions, and for me to beat them like we did is an achievement. Also beating Sundowns away from home was a good result for us.”
The former Bafana Bafana striker might be downplaying his success in his first stint as coach. He has already reached the final of the MTN8 and has led City to the last eight of the Nedbank Cup.
City are also on the brink of qualifying for the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup.
But the UEFA Champions League winner with Portugal’s FC Porto says he has not won anything yet and there is nothing to brag about so far in his short stint as a coach.
However, he says that the more experience he gains, the better he will become.