/ 5 September 2023

Benni McCarthy – One of the most celebrated figures in South African soccer

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Through his playing and coaching career, he has left an inspirational legacy 

As a striker, Benni McCarthy found great success in Europe and became South Africa’s all-time leading goalscorer. Now, McCarthy is imparting his wealth of experience as head coach of multiple national teams, Cape Town City FC and AmaZulu, and recently also internationally, as a first-team coach at Manchester United.

Through his playing career and coaching, he has left a strong, inspirational legacy in South African soccer. It’s time to check it, as there is certainly much to learn from it, especially if you are a sports betting enthusiast. 

Playing career

McCarthy first made his mark in South Africa, leading Seven Stars to league titles in the late 1990s. His exceptional talent soon caught the eye of Ajax Amsterdam, where he thrived from 1997-1999. Paired with striker Patrick Kluivert, he helped Ajax reach the top of the Eredivisie and Dutch Super Cup.

McCarthy’s successes continued with Portuguese club FC Porto, reaching the UEFA Cup in 2003. He also enjoyed stints in England with Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United, dazzling with his pace, technical ability and nose for goal.

On the international stage, McCarthy recorded 79 caps with South Africa, appearing in two World Cups. He became the all-time top scorer with 31 goals, a record that still stands today. Once he retired in 2013 at 35, his exploits made him a revered figure across the continent.

Coaching career so far

After a stint assisting Sint-Truiden in Belgium, McCarthy became head coach of Cape Town City FC in 2017. He quickly transformed the club into title challengers, leading them to consecutive top-three league finishes. Players praise McCarthy’s motivational and attacking style. In his first season, he guided Cape Town City to a club-record third-place finish, qualifying for the CAF Confederation Cup. His coaching made an immediate positive impact.

Under McCarthy’s leadership, Cape Town City adopted an attractive, attacking style of play that saw them score many goals. In the 2017-18 season, Cape Town City scored 44 goals in 30 league games — the second-highest total in the league. According to professional tipsters and other experts, their new offensive mentality was a shift that he instilled.

McCarthy showed a commitment to promoting young talent, giving opportunities to players from the Cape Town City youth academy. This has unearthed several rising stars who have thrived under his tutelage and trust.

New horizons, legacy and impact

Unfortunately, at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, Cape Town City hit rock bottom, losing 16 out of their 18 first games. This situation led to McCarthyi’s dismissal from his position on 4 November. 

In December 2020, McCarthy was appointed head coach of AmaZulu FC, taking over from former coach Ayanda Dlamini. McCarthy made an immediate impact, leading AmaZulu to a club-record second-place finish in the 2020-2021 South African Premier Soccer League season. This qualified AmaZulu for the CAF Champions League under McCarthy’s leadership.

Though The Amaqhawe could not advance past the group stage in their debut CAF Champions League appearance, McCarthy’s success in his first season gained AmaZulu their highest league finish in the modern era before he departed the club in March 2022. In July 2022, McCarthy embarked on a new chapter in his coaching career when he was hired as a first-team coach by the English football club Manchester United.

His legacy in South African soccer cannot be overstated. As a coach, he draws on his wealth of top-flight experience to elevate South Africa’s domestic league. Likewise, according to the most reliable bookmakers, he also has the potential for an illustrious international coaching career, further strengthening the country’s soccer landscape. 

Throughout his playing and coaching career, he has left an inspirational legacy in South African soccer