at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates' gifted marksman Benni McCarthy said he is ready and willing to play for Bafana Bafana again.
A leaner McCarthy, who last played for the national team in 2008, under Brazilian coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, said the friendly chat he had with Bafana's new coach Gordon Igesund two weeks ago, convinced him that he was still wanted.
“I had a chat with the coach two weeks ago and he was happy that my form is still intact,” said McCarthy.
“If the coach feels that I still have what it takes to play for Bafana once again, then I am ready.
“At the moment, my focus is doing well at Pirates and so far so good.”
McCarthy, who will be facing traditional rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the second edition of the Carling Black Label tournament at the FNB Stadium on Saturday night, said he was much fitter and felt young again.
“I feel like a 25-year-old unlike my age of 34,” McCarthy said.
“This is all thanks to my coach Augusto Palacios who ensured that I started the season as fit as a fiddle.
“Last season, I felt heavy and it took me a while to settle in, but this time around, I am feeling good and confident ahead of the season.”
Pirates emerged as winners in convincing the Bafana all-time, leading goalscorer, with 31 international goals, that Bucs was the right team to join.
Aiming to follow in the footsteps of his fellow veteran striker, Siyabonga Nomvethe, the former Celta Vigo, Porto and Blackburn Rovers marksman said anything was possible.
Nomvethe won the PSL Footballer of the Year, Absa Player of the Season, Player’s Player of the Season and leading goalscorer after banging in 20 well-taken goals.
“I intend to follow in Nomvethe’s footsteps as he showed consistency last season,” said McCarthy.
“I have belief that my dream can be realised as we have strengthened the team with good, quality players.
“Chiefs are not an easy side to beat and that means we must be at our best on Saturday.”
Having scored a spectacular brace in the last game between the two clubs, all eyes will be on McCarthy to repeat his goalscoring prowess which has certainly made him dangerous prey in the 18 yard penalty area. – Sapa