DURBAN - Some South African football fans were left frustrated last week after it emerged that Benni McCarthy would not be the Bafana Bafana heir to the throne.
Instead, the job went to Belgian Hugo Broos. Sixtynine-year-old Broos is hardly a household name in South African football but the fact that he led Cameroon to the Africa Cup of Nations title in 2017 creates some hope that he can revive Bafana Bafana's fortunes.
The following are some reasons why it may be good that Benni did not get the job.
He can continue to grow as a coach
McCarthy is not only a respected personality within South Africa but also in Europe. He was a clinical goalscorer in his heyday as a player, scoring goals against the biggest teams in the game. His good work with AmaZulu is bound to have attracted interest from European clubs.
If McCarthy can continue at his current rate, he may attract the attention of clubs from Europe. He will not only grow his reputation as a coach but could also lay the platform for other coaches from Africa to get recruited by European clubs and subsequently go on to coach some of the biggest teams in the game.
Could he really have succeeded?
Honestly, the problems in South African football cannot be solved overnight. Remember that in countries like Ivory Coast, Algeria and Cameroon, some of the players grew up in Europe with their development having started in their formative childhood years.
In South Africa, most players are only developed seriously from their teenage years. There is not only a gulf in class between South Africa and the top football nations but also between South Africa and the top nations in Africa.
A good Bafana Bafana coach can certainly help our national team to beat evenly matched and lower-ranked nations like Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mali on a regular basis but expecting them to beat the top African nations regularly would be a tough ask.
There are good reasons why the Bafana Bafana hot seat is considered by some to be a “poisoned chalice”. Apart from 1996 Africa Cup of Nations winning coach Clive Barker and Carlos Queiroz who qualified the team for the 2002 World Cup, no other Bafana Bafana coach can really say that their spell in charge of the national team was successful.
Even the likes of Pitso Mosimane, Gordon Igesund and Shakes Mashaba, three men who dedicated their lives to South African football were unable to get the team winning on a consistent basis.
He will still have time
McCarthy is still 43 and can technically coach for another 27 years. He is likely to get the opportunity to coach Bafana Bafana again, when he has more experience and develops into an even better coach than he currently is.