We have to learn from Benni McCarty after Marcus Rashford’s turnaround, says Orlando Pirates’ Ndumiso Mabena

Ndumiso Mabena says he happy to be a mentor at Orlando Pirates. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Ndumiso Mabena says he happy to be a mentor at Orlando Pirates. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Published Feb 21, 2023


Cape Town - Veteran striker Ndumiso Mabena is happy to be a mentorship figure at Orlando Pirates. The 35-year-old made a surprise return to the Sea Robbers in January after having left Royal AM. He is also one of the few remaining active players from the last Pirates team to win the league title more than a decade ago.

“I’m happy to be back at home where I started my professional career. I am happy to be back at the club and have been welcomed warmly. I think I have done well since I got back. When I got back, we were playing in the MTN 8 final. I had to share my experiences of playing in finals and I think it helped,” he said.

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Currently, third in the league, Pirates remain in a rebuilding phase. They trail log leaders Sundowns by 24 points which indicates that there remains a major gulf in class between themselves and their Gauteng counterparts. However, they did claim the MTN 8 earlier this season, for the second time in three seasons.

They also dumped Sundowns out of the MTN 8 in the semi-finals with a memorable 3-0 second-leg win over Masandawana. The result undoubtedly played a role in Downs’ decision to stop their co-coaching arrangement and utilize Rhulani Mokwena as the sole head coach.

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Pirates next league assignment is a clash against the out of form Kaizer Chiefs at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Amakhosi have won just one out of their last five league games, losing three in the process. Pirates will be the favourites for the game given that they have won four out of their last five league games but Mabena feels it will be a “difficult game” as Chiefs will be hungry to get one over their bitter Soweto rivals.

Mabena also paid tribute to Benni McCarthy. When Pirates won the league in 2011, the Mpumalanga born player was a younger player in the team while McCarthy was a team-mate as a veteran in the side at the time. McCarthy’s spell with Pirates proved to be the last of his illustrious career as a professional footballer.

McCarthy has drawn praise this season for his role as a striker coach with English football giants Manchester United.

“He’s been my role-model ever since I have been playing football. Seeing him coaching at Manchester United makes me proud. Ever since he got there, Marcus Rashford has been scoring regularly. We have to learn from him. He has done well consistently," said Mabena.