JOHANNESBURG – Benni McCarthy, the Cape Town City coach, has spoken about how much he enjoys getting one over his Bidvest Wits counterpart Gavin Hunt – the man responsible for launching his football career more than two decades ago.
“That’s how I repay him with my respect. If I lose, what respect will I get then? He is most admired by me because he is the first guy to believe in my ability when I was 17 years old,” said McCarthy following his side’s narrow 1-0 win over Wits in the opening round of the Nedbank Cup on Wednesday night.
“He (Hunt) could have said what every other coach would have said that I ‘you are too young, too skinny and your time will come when you are 25’.
“But he threw me in at the deep end knowing then what I was capable of and he forced the club (Seven Stars) to let me go to Europe instead of signing for the big five or three that we have in South Africa.
“I respect and cherish the fact that he gave me a life in football.”
City claimed, from the club’s own Twitter account, that they became the first outfit in the PSL era to beat one team four times in the same season, having emerged winners in the opening game of the league against Wits, beating them twice in the MTN8 semi-finals and then again on Wednesday night to knock them out of the cup.
McCarthy had a grin on his face when asked why he enjoyed games against Wits so much, but also had incredibly warm words for Hunt.
“As a new coach now, he is someone I have looked up to. I want to follow in his footsteps.
“Of course I have my own philosophy and my own way of doing things, but when I look at people that inspire me, coach (Hunt) is one of them,” said the former Ajax Amsterdam, FC Porto, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United striker, who remains Bafana Bafana’s all-time goal scorer to date.