There is a quote doing the rounds attributed to Benni McCarthy, though I have to say I can’t find the original source.
The quote goes like this: “Bafana Bafana won’t achieve much because Safa is led by old madalas who never played football, who don’t even understand what football is.”
McCarthy may or may not have actually said this, but it sticks because it is a line one could imagine McCarthy dishing out, the brash striker never short of a word or two in his career, whether as a player or coach.
The quote, true or not, also speaks to why bad-boy Benni might have a problem getting the job as senior national team coach.
The ‘madalas’ after all, are very much still in power at the South African Football Association, a basically all-male group of power-thirsty politicians, who do seem desperate to prove that they don’t understand football at all.
Bafana’s failure to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations next year is a case in point, and now the same organisation has taken upon itself the task of finding another head coach, after sacking Molefi Ntseki last week.
On merit, it is debatable whether McCarthy should be offered the Bafana job, in the early stages of his club career. His charisma and record with Bafana as a player would certainly bring some early positive vibes, especially if the results also go his way.
And he is in the middle of a superb start to his latest tenure at AmaZulu, with the side surging up the DStv Premiership table, on the back of a pretty good first ever experience of being a head coach at Cape Town City, even if that did end on a distinct downturn.
But it is still very early to task the country’s leading all-time goalscorer with the responsibility of leading his nation, even if McCarthy basically issued a come-and-get-me plea in a recent interview with the BBC.
And there is also the matter of McCarthy and his history with Safa. If the earlier quote is debatable, McCarthy did do an interview with Timeslive in 2020 where he criticised Safa’s leadership ten years on from the Fifa World Cup in South Africa.
“When it comes to the national team‚ Safa‚ we’ve just gone completely backwards,” said McCarthy at the time.
Maybe he feels he is the man to change that, but Safa’s superiors may feel they don’t want their bad-boy back, even if he also brought them plenty of glory in his playing days, and if as a Bafana coach he may just be prepared to accept he can no longer shoot from the hip when it comes to his employers.