JOHANNESBURG - On the sidelines, light and darkness sit on either shoulder of Bafana Bafana legend, Benni McCarthy.
The light comes across through McCarthy’s personality when he conducts his pre and post-match interviews, selling a young brand that is Cape Town City with his charisma when he analyses the club’s overall performances, and what they need to do in order to improve their play moving forward.
However, there are times when the devil whispers, and McCarthy listens; that triggers his emotions to lash out at an opponent, especially when he feels his player was fouled.
Those two sides of the 39-year-old coach were clearly highlighted in City’s 2-0 victory over Ajax Cape Town last month. Passions flared as Bafana’s all-time leading goal-scorer uttered insults for any foul play which was committed on his players.
More recently, McCarthy referred to match official Phillip Tinyane as a “cow,” when asked to give his overall impression on how he conducted their 2-1 defeat against Chippa United this past weekend.
Aubrey Ngoma, who is yet to feature for City following his recovery from a knee injury, says McCarthy’s passion for the game appeals to his players, adding that they know they’ve got somebody who would risk just about anything to have their back at all times.
Not that Ngoma was condoning his coach’s abusive remarks he sometimes uses on the opposition or referee.
“It’s good to know that you’ve got a coach who’s always backing you and will do whatever he can to protect you in every situation,” Ngoma said. “A good example was when he got furious when the opposition players (Ajax) started kicking his players. He’s a protector.
"He’s a coach who always wants to win. His enthusiasm for the game is still the same just as he was during his playing days. We’re always trying to learn from him as much as we can, building towards our common goal as a club.
“Coach Benni doesn’t want us to see him as a coach. However, as one of us as well, a friend, someone that you can have a conversation with on and off the field just about whatever problem you might be experiencing. He wants us to be in a state where we will be able to have (a casual) chat with him just about anything. It’s good to have such a coach. I believe that’s what is going to help a whole lot of players (to perform in the team).”
Cape Town City will hope to have their scoring boots on when they take on Baroka FC in the last 16 of the Telkom Knockout on Sunday in Polokwane, as failure to do so, might see them failing to progress further in the competition, in pursuit of defending the trophy they won in their debut season last year.
“It was just unfortunate that he (McCarthy) didn’t win his first final (against SuperSport United in the MTN8), however, he’ still a great motivator,” Ngoma said.