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Benni On Foster – It’s A Shame

Manchester United first team coach Benni McCarthy has come out in defence of Lyle Foster over the backlash he has received from a large portion of the South African public after being recalled to Bafana Bafana.

Foster, 23, was recalled to Hugo Broos’ Bafana squad for the first time since October, with the national team coach revealing he met with the striker, who had missed the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations due to mental health issues.

However, McCarthy insisted Foster should be commended and show more compassion towards one of the few players, who have come out to speak about mental health issues while still playing.

“It’s one that’s really difficult to understand why people would celebrate the team has gone down because a player didn’t decide to play for the national team, to represent the country at the international level, because of what he was going through in that time,” McCarthy told Robert Marawa on Radio 947.

“And that is sad, like for us South Africans to be celebrating because Burnley went down, because of the punishment for Lyle Foster.

“Let me tell you something now, mental health is slowly becoming the fastest killer out there. The amount of people that you see suffering with mental health issues, a lot of people still keep to themselves, they don’t want to share what they feeling, and the suffering that they go into. So you do it in silence, you do it in private. And I think that is the biggest mistake that one can do.

“And the fact that Lyle came out as a football player, as a man, he’s came out and say about it, it is hard. Sometimes adapting to foreign places, when you don’t speak the language, when the culture is different, the food is different, everything else, you got to deal with all those things.

“Not everyone has crocodile skin, not everyone has the mental toughness to handle that, to get over that. So when someone is reaching out and suffering and going through things, you got to help you got to put that person first.

“So we have to be a bit more compassionate, you have to take people’s well-being in consideration before anything else, before a football match before, before anything else.

“And yeah, so Lyle is dealing with that, and I was reaching out. I was reaching out as well. I was trying to speak to Lyle. But yeah, like I said, it’s difficult. I was trying to help in the best possible way.

“It looked like he didn’t want it to play for his country. But that’s that is not true, because I see Lyle quite a bit when we here because we don’t stay too far from each other. And we sit and that’s all he wants to do, that’s all Lyle wants to do – to become the oll time top goalscorer for South Africa to break my record.

“And we talk about that and I encouraged him to do so. But yeah, it will be difficult because now he’s got that hanging over his head that he didn’t go because of mental issues, not because he didn’t want to go and play. Of course he wanted to go but he was advised by doctors, by the club, by everyone, so you have to follow and that’s what the decision that was made and that didn’t sit well with South Africa.”

Burnley’s Lyle Foster during the Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday May 11, 2024.

McCarthy also insisted that Foster’s best is yet to come after he really trouble United’s defence and despite being relegated with Burnley.

“But yeah, people have to forgive because we’ve got a young man there that’s at the top of his game,” he added.

“Believe you me, when we drew against Burnley I was rubbing my eyes out because I thought Lyle was that good that he would fit like a glove in our team, in that Man United team. His movement was unbelievable.

“[Harry] Maguire [and the rest], they couldn’t deal with Lyle, because of his movement, he is quick, and he is a player that will benefit playing in that national team from South Africa.

“So yes, we have to forgive him. We have to forgive him because it wasn’t by choice. He didn’t want to not play for the country. He was suffering, he was going through illness. And mental health is a massive illness.”

Bafana face Nigeria and Zimbabwe in the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

David Kappel
David Kappel
David Kappel has served as a renowned international editor and content manager for almost a decade. David specialises in ensuring content and social media posts are highly engaging for football fans and was previously the international editor at Soccer Laduma. He is currently the iDiski Times website editor and social strategist.