I can see Benni coaching Bafana one day - Furman
CAPE TOWN - Benni McCarthy as the Bafana Bafana coach one day? Well, that idea has been around for a while, and now it has been mentioned by a current national-team player.
Dean Furman was born in Cape Town before his family immigrated to London when he was aged five, but his affinity for the Mother City extends beyond just the famous mountain and other places of natural beauty.
Having recently returned to England and signed for League Two outfit Carlisle United – having spent five years at SuperSport United – Furman made it clear who he would like to play for if he had to come back for one last stint in Mzansi.
“I can’t say the obvious answer is SuperSport. I would probably go for Cape Town City. It was where I was born, I’ve got family there… What a dream it would be to live in Cape Town. They’ve always just played a great brand of football, and I know they’ve lost Kermit (Erasmus) this year. But I think the location is the reason behind that choice!” the 32-year-old midfielder said during a Laureus Sport for Good Foundation football webinar on Wednesday night.
But the Cape Town link goes further, and while he was careful not to be disparaging towards current Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki – especially after being included in the squad for the November Afcon qualifiers against São Tomé and Príncipe – he revealed who he would like to see in the hot seat in future.
“It’s so tough, hard to speak when someone is in the job right now. But having grown up on this side of the world, I’d love to see Benni get an opportunity at some stage. He is so charismatic, he’s so patriotic. Just looking at his career, I would’ve loved to work with him – not necessarily in my national career, but in any capacity,” Furman said.
“I know he’s worked with (Jose) Mourinho, I know he’s played with incredible players, and he won a Champions League. So I would just like to draw on those experiences to see how he manages that.
“When he was manager at Cape Town City, it looked like the players loved playing for him – he looked like he was harsh. He looked like he could tell you what’s what when he needed to, but it just looked like the players loved playing for him.
“So, one day in the future, I would love to see Benni get an opportunity to manage (Bafana). I’m sure he is going into club football for the foreseeable future, but one day, I really do see Benni as leading the national team.”
It has been a whirlwind return to the UK for Furman, who explained that family was the main reason that he left South Africa, as his wife gave birth to a daughter recently, while his parents and siblings are also still in England.
The most difficult part of the relocation was to find a new club, although Furman had previously played for Rangers in Scotland, as well as Bradford City, Oldham Athletic and Doncaster Rovers.
“I was incredibly happy at SuperSport, and we were incredibly happy living in South Africa. It’s just with the little one coming along, we decided that we wanted to be closer to our immediate family and move to the UK,” he said.
“Finding a club was tough. What people don’t quite realise is that one of the one factors is that ‘You’ve been out of the country for five years. Who have you been playing for? We’ve heard of Chiefs and Pirates, who are SuperSport?’ Unfortunately, the (SA) league is not well known over here, so the managers don’t know what standard you are playing at,” he said.
“Having been the Bafana captain does help, but clubs also think you are going to fly off every month on national-team duty, and that’s not beneficial to the team. Age comes into it as well – at 32, if I have a great season, there is no re-sell value – and clubs think about where the money is coming from during the pandemic.
“I am very grateful to have a home at Carlisle United. I missed the first away game – I’ve struggled with injury a little bit, so that’s why I haven’t made too many appearances. And the team, since I’ve been out – I’m fit now – but they have been doing fantastically well, so I’m currently waiting for my opportunity.
“We won last night 3-1 (against Morecambe). I got 15 minutes at the end of the game, but at the moment, the boys are in such great form that the manager is keeping the same team.”