Benni McCarthy was encouraged by his family to accept the Cape Town City post. Photo: Chris Ricco, BackpagePix

CAPE TOWN – Drum roll, please! Benni McCarthy’s in the Cape Town area, and Monday will be his first day as coach of the country’s fastest-growing football club, Cape Town City.

Hanover Park boytjie McCarthy, 39, is Bafana Bafana’s leading scorer with 32 goals, and is also remembered for his role in TKZee’s popular kwaito hit, Shibobo.

He was named City coach two weeks ago after the departure of Eric Tinkler to SuperSport United.

McCarthy arrived in the city from his home in Scotland on Sunday.

He is a Uefa Champions League winner with Portuguese club FC Porto, and also played for English top-flight teams Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United.

McCarthy featured for Premier Soccer League (PSL) giants Orlando Pirates before his retirement in 2013.

He decided to become a coach and said he had a five-year plan for his “second” career. “I wanted to complete all my coaching badges (first), and I didn’t want any distraction from it,” McCarthy said.

“I wasn’t looking for a coaching job (right now). I wasn’t putting my name forward for anything, because I wanted to complete my whole five-year plan, from Level 2, Uefa B, Uefa A and Uefa Pro Licence.”

Cape Town City is not a "Mickey Mouse team", says new coach Benni McCarthy. Photo: Chris Ricco, BackpagePix

Four years into his plan, City was offered McCarthy his first head-coaching position, and his wife Stacey and daughter Lima, 5, told him to accept the challenge.

McCarthy, who wants a top-eight finish in the PSL next season, said it won’t be easy managing the club after City finished third in the league and won the Telkom Knockout in their debut season in 2016/17.

“I want to play good football, the kind of football that people want to pay money to come and see. Also, to play with a winning mentality,” he said.

“The team has reached a top level in such a short space of time.

“Now, I want the team to stay at that level. We are not a Mickey Mouse team. We are not an average team. We are a respected team. We want to keep it that way.”

McCarthy is expected to meet with his staff and the City board on Monday. The players return to training on July 1.

McCarthy’s first order of business will be to meet and get to know the squad, “so I can start instilling my beliefs and philosophy on how I want to do things and start building the trust with the team”.

He wants to become “one of those special managers that every single player wants to play for”.

“I’m privileged and honoured, after 20-odd years that I’ve been away, that my first coaching job is back where it all started for me, where life began – Cape Town,” he said.

There’s been talk of City’s plans to build its own stadium. McCarthy, who first played at Hartleyvale Stadium in Observatory, said that venue would be perfect.

“It would be nice if that place can be revived again, so the club can have its own stadium, its own fan-base, its own facilities. It’s just a step in the right direction to becoming more like a European-run football club,” he added.

His family will remain overseas and commute.

Weekend Argus

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