CAPE TOWN – Benni McCarthy, on a high after officially receiving his Uefa Pro Coaching Licence, is sure to have his Cape Town City team primed and pumped when they swing back into PSL action against Black Leopards at Cape Town Stadium on Sunday (3.30pm kickoff).
After winning the MTN8 in September, City experienced a bit of a slump in form. But they then bounced back to their best with a comprehensive 3-0 thumping of AmaZulu two weeks ago. Now, as City prepare for a tricky league fixture against Leopards, McCarthy would love nothing better than to celebrate his recent coaching achievement with a victory.
Having completed his Uefa Pro Licence with the Irish Football Association, the former Bafana Bafana striker graduated last week and was able to proudly display the badge, which is the highest coaching qualification in Europe. McCarthy joins two other South Africans - Zeca Marques and Mich d’Avray - in possession of the much sought-after coaching badge.
While City boss John Comitis is chuffed with McCarthy’s achievement, it also makes him aware that, sometime or other in the future, he will lose his coach to bigger and better opportunities. The Uefa Pro Licence is standard for any coach wanting to work in Europe’s top leagues; it also allows the holder to coach in the Uefa Champions League and Europa League.
“I’m completely smitten,” said Comitis. “There are a little more than 8 000 coaches in the world with a Pro Licence. Of those, there are only two black coaches in Africa to have done so, and Benni is one of the two. What more can I say about the man?
“But, having achieved the highest coaching qualification in Europe, as a club we are asking that Benni is patient with us. As a coach, he has grown and will continue to go from strength to strength. When he eventually leaves us, we hope that it will be for something big.
“For now, while he is with City, we are hoping that we have found our Ferguson,” added Comitis, in reference to successful former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Looking ahead to the Leopards clash on Sunday, Comitis said it could be the ideal opportunity for McCarthy to blood new signing Tokelo Rantie. The 28-year-old striker signed for City two months ago, but has yet to see any action. Having been out of the game for a while, the player was allowed time to work on his match fitness and conditioning; he also picked up an injury at training.
Rantie was on the bench for the recent win over AmaZulu, but McCarthy didn’t feel the need to risk the player. But, against Leopards on Sunday, it could well be the right moment for the striker to make his long-awaited City debut.
“TK (Rantie) is still working on his fitness,” said Comitis. “But we know his quality and we don’t really want to rush him into action. We want to get him to the point where he is ready to go. But I guess we have to start the ball rolling with him somewhere - and Sunday could just be the day to offer him some game time.”
This week’s PSL fixtures:
Today: Polokwane City v Orlando Pirates
Tomorrow: Kaizer Chiefs v Black Leopards; Mamelodi Sundowns v Free State Stars