JOHANNESBURG – Benni McCarthy has revealed he made almost no attempt to stop Cape Town City captain Robyn Johannes from signing a pre-contract with Bidvest Wits, effectively agreeing to join the reigning league champions in July.
The skipper was missing in action when the Mother City outfit went down 1-0 to Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday night because of suspension, and the coach paired Taariq Fielies with Kwanda Mngonyama at centre-back, a partnership McCarthy said was a reflection of life after Johannes.
Asked if he had tried to convince him to stay, the former Blackburn Rovers hitman argued he did consider doing so, but did not want the player to resent him later in life.
“Robyn is a player that recovered himself this season. He was great last season, but this year he made up for all the years he missed out because of injury,” McCarthy explained.
“Of course I tried because I have known him since he was 15. I played with him, and now I get to coach him. Our relationship is more than that of coach and player.
“But it’s difficult when you are competing with teams who have bigger budgets than you, and would throw more money at players.
“It also becomes difficult for a player when you say he has to give up R2 million or R3 million to stay. I think I can’t try to convince someone, especially when you get to the latter stages of your career.”
McCarthy said he understood why Johannes is heading to Wits.
“You have to try and make the best living situation for your family because in two or three years, it’s over.
“And I don’t want players resenting me and saying ‘Coach Benni made me decide to stay and now in five years’ time, I have to go look for a job when I could have secured my future for another extra five years’.
“I don’t want to be the guy that kills someone’s career like that. So, I let him decide.
“It was his choice and it’s his life. We obviously couldn’t match what Wits were offering. We lost one of our gems and captain.”