Boys to meh: I'm done with Bafana, says Benni
Veteran Orlando Pirates striker Benni McCarthy admits he harbours no ambitions of donning the Bafana Bafana jersey again, conceding that his often drama-filled international career is over.
The country’s leading goal scorer, with 31 strikes in 79 matches for the national team, McCarthy said on Saturday it was vital for a younger crop of players to rise through the ranks.
He insisted that he and other veteran players did not hold the answers to the national side’s goal-scoring problems after they failed to qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
“You don’t want to be having old throngs hanging around the national team,” McCarthy said.
“You don’t want players like myself, Bhele [Siyabonga Nomvethe], [Macbeth] Sibaya and Sibusiso Zuma.
“We’ve passed it now. Now is the time where they should be building a new talent of players ... [Swallows coach] Gordon Igesund summed it up last week when he said experienced players like Nomvethe could have played a role in the Afcon qualifiers, but not now.”
The 34-year-old’s career is on the up again after his struggle with injuries over the last two years, a catalyst for his weight problems.
This led to his acrimonious parting with West Ham in January, shortly before they were relegated from the English Premiership.
Step by step
McCarthy went on to make a high profile return to the Absa Premiership, signing for Pirates before the campaign started, and he quickly became an integral part of the squad.
“I’m taking it step by step, but it’s important to keep myself fit,” McCarthy said.
“I have to be careful and not push myself to the point where I will get injured again.”
The Cape Town-born player produced his best performance of the season at the weekend, netting a brace as the Buccaneers came from behind to beat Swallows 2-1 in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinals in Dobsonville.
He netted a world-class free kick that brought the two sides level in a man-of-the-match display.
It was his longest stint on the field since his return to South Africa, and one that had the near-capacity crowd chanting his name.
“After seeing the league match last Wednesday, we knew we had to do something special to beat Swallows,” McCarthy said.
“But for me, it was great to play 85 minutes ...
It was a game where we had to push, we had to do it for the team and we needed a big performance.”—Sapa