Benni McCarthy has lauded his technical team, players and bosses at AmaZulu for helping him clinch the Coach of the Season award ahead of the league-winning men at Mamelodi Sundowns.
The former Bafana Bafana hit-man said on Monday that unity of purpose at his Durban club paved the way for them to finish a spectacular second in the DStv Premiership at the weekend, which was AmaZulu’s highest placing since the Premier Soccer League was launched in 1996.
“I just would like to say thank you very much for voting for me and for having me as the coach of the season,” the chuffed Cape-born coach said.
“I couldn’t have done it without my technical team; amazing technical team, these guys, their work ethic, the loyalty and the support that they have given to me to be able to work to the best of my ability.
“And, as a team we were able to get over the line and make sure that the team qualifies in second position for the Caf Champions League. So, I am grateful for these guys.
“But, most importantly, I think the guys who should take all the credit must be the players, you know. The players have been fantastic since I walked through the door.
“They’ve given me everything of them and more, and they were able to have the best season — a historical season for AmaZulu Football Club.
“And, I’m very grateful and I’m thankful for their hard work, their determination, the sacrifices and also the willingness to learn and to improve and be better.
“That’s why we were all able to succeed for the team and finish second, and for me grabbing the coach of the season award.”
The former Cape Town City coach also thanked club boss Sandile Zungu for creating the platform for him to succeed, which included a considerable investment in players after Zungu took over the reigns from the Sokhela and O’Connor families last year through purchasing the previously inconsistent franchise.
“I’m truly thankful for everything, for the president, the Zungu family, for giving me the opportunity first of all, you know, to be in charge of this football team and to be able to have done what I have done,” said 43-year-old McCarthy, who bounce back well from a bitter departure from Cape Town City.
“It was a fantastic season; also congratulating the DStv Premier League for a magnificent season during these tough times.
“Next season, we looking forward to a good season and competing the Caf Champions League.”
Of course, the storied club from the East Coast will be playing in the Champions League for the first time, while neighbours Golden Arrows also did well to finish in fourth spot.
McCarthy was rumoured to be in the running for the Bafana coaching vacancy in the second round of the season, but Zungu was relieved when that did not materialise and Belgian veteran Hugo Broos was appointed by the SA Football Association instead.
While McCarthy could come into the national team picture again in the future, since Bafana coaches tend to last two years with that outfit, a boost for KwaZulu football is that there may be four clubs from KZN in the top flight next season.
This comes as a result of Maritzburg United having securing their place in the league on the last day on Saturday, while Royal AM from Durban are fighting for promotion from the lower league, although that issue has become controversial and stands to have a legal outcome.