Second place, cup double not good enough for Orlando Pirates, says Benni McCarthy

Orlando Pirates players celebrate after winning the Nedbank Cup

FILE - Orlando Pirates players celebrate after winning the Nedbank Cup. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Published Jun 8, 2023


Durban — South African football icon Benni McCarthy is currently fresh off a fairly successful first season in his new coaching position at English giants Manchester United.

The ex-Orlando Pirates striker has taken time to issue his assessment of former side’s glittering 2022/2023 campaign in which they won both the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup.

The widely outspoken McCarthy has expressed that although the club’s efforts could be commandable but it is still not good enough after they finished the season 16 points behind DStv Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns.

“You play all year to win the league… So winning the MTN8 cup is great, winning the Nedbank Cup is also great, but I think the big one that you chase is the league,” he told Robert Marawa on 947.

“I think they’ve had a great season, but by their standards that’s not good enough. They’re supposed to be pushing Sundowns all the way to the wire. It should be a far closer contest than what it is.

The Buccaneers made great strides this past campaign, forming what seems to be an excellent foundation to kick on next season, led by head coach Jose Riveiro in his first ten months in the country.

The Spanish coach has never hidden his ambition of driving one of the biggest clubs on the continent back to league title contention, meaning he would have to dethrone the Brazilians who have won the league for the sixth time in a row now.

McCarthy, who scored ten goals and grabbed four assists for Pirates when they won the league in the 2011/2012 season has put pressure on the Buccaneers and the other teams to make attempts and stop Sundowns for the sake of the league.

“Sundowns is a one-horse race in our league at the moment. I hope that the progress Pirates is making and the new manager with what he is doing at the club is that he can push to make the league more interesting than what it was, like how it was before when we had four teams always battling each other and it can go either way. It’s almost always going down to the wire but the last few years has only been one-way traffic and that’s not fun,” said McCarthy.

“Every other team needs to raise their game to compete and make the league better than what it is. Now, after the first game they might as well hand the trophy to Sundowns because that’s what is happening.”


IOL Sport