DURBAN – Benni McCarthy says he “never had a conversation” with Orlando Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza about the Pirates job after leaving Cape Town City.
The all-time leading goalscorer for Bafana Bafana is currently in his Scotland home with his family and is without a permanent job.
Before the incumbent Sea Robbers boss, Josef Zinnbauer, took over the reins, MCarthy's name was linked to the club that he played for in the final seasons before his retirement. But in an interview with South African Football Journalists Association (Safja), the legendary striker sought to give some perspective of what actually transpired.
“Yes, I was linked with Pirates (before they hired Josef Zinnbauer) but I never had a conversation with the chairman (Irvin Khoza). Pirates made their decision and at this point in time that seems like it was a right decision. He (Zinnbauer) has done relatively well with Pirates. The team is playing much better and it seems like he is getting the best out of a lot of players.
I'm happy for Pirates - that they seem to have gotten back on track. So, I did not have a conversation with the chairman about taking the job or not taking the job,” McCarthy said.
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The 42-year-old made his name at FC Porto in Portugal where he won the Uefa Champions League in 2004 under coach Jose Mourinho. MCarthy revealed during the interview that he is eyeing a move back to his former club.
“FC Porto has elections coming up soon. The incumbent president, Pinto da Costa , is running for presidency again. He has been there for 38 years. He is looking to bring in Victor Baia as his vice president. Victor did mention something about recruiting players from that generation of 2003 to 2005 that won big things for Porto to get back into the academy.
“I had a conversation with him. Once the election is over and we know who won, we will take it from there. I'll keep my fingers crossed that Victor does get elected as vice president to Peter da Costa if he wins the election. That might be a good start for me. The manager that is there is a former teammate of mine,” McCarthy stated.
McCarthy is firmly focused on getting his next job in Europe for now.
“My agent Rob Moore has been looking out what is there for me. Something interesting came up but unfortunately because of these crazy times, you can't react to what is happening. In Portugal, he spoke with my old teammate who is a couple of years younger than me. He is the sporting director at the club called Rio Ave. My agent was with him and he actually gave my agent, a few good tips on what to do and what might be on the horizon.
Once the dust settles and things go back to normal, I'll definitely be following up. It could be something that is valuable for me because it is a place that I know of exceptionally well and where I'm very much loved,” he added.
McCarthy boasts a Uefa Pro Licence which means he can coach anywhere in Europe.
“In Scotland, Hearts have gone down. We will monitor that. We will see if the German guy will stay or not. I'll put myself back there as well. It is the club that is down the road from where I live. It will be ideal for me to stay close to the family.
The return to South Africa is also not off the table. It must be the right club. It must a project where I am able to work with people. They must have the same goals and ambitions as me,” McCarthy explained.