Benni McCarthy is back in the 18 Area! AmaZulu has brought in the former Bafana Bafana striker to take over from Ayanda Dlamini, as new owner Sandile Zungu continues to show his ambition.
McCarthy was unveiled by AmaZulu on Monday afternoon.
McCarthy had been out of work since he left Cape Town City just over a year ago, and while he was linked with a number of jobs in that time, he has patiently sat back and waited for the right opportunity.
If you had asked whether Amazulu was that right option a year ago, most pundits would have thought not. But a lot has changed at the Durban club recently with Zungu taking over the club with the ambition of turning AmaZulu into the giant of South African football that it really should be.
They have made a bevy of good signings ahead of this season, and Benni will find himself working with a squad that is capable of achieving a lot more than Usuthu have in the past.
And while the season start hasn’t been ideal, it also hasn’t been a disaster. AmaZulu is currently 11th, with one win, three draws and two defeats.
The only thing this AmaZulu team needs to learn is that they can be successful, and that is where McCarthy comes in. Benni is not someone who wants to be a middle-of-the-league coach. He wants to be a winner, and his job now is to change the ethos of the club into one that wants to be winners too.
This is easier said than done. The Kwazulu-Natal province has never been short of talent. In all fairness, AmaZulu, Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United have always had the ammunition to become much bigger than they are. But it’s not just about having the right ammunition, it is also about creating the right environment, and I cannot recall too many seasons when people have spoken about any KZN team as a valid league contender.
While there have been a few good performances in cup competitions, but for the most part finishing in the top eight was always considered a success at the above mentioned teams.
At Cape Town City, Benni challenged the status quo. When he took over at Cape Town City they were only a season old. While they had finished third under Eric Tinkler, and won the Telkom Knockout, it was all a big surprise for the club, who originally only had ambitions to avoid relegation that first season. But riding on their success, and with McCarthy in charge, City’s ambitions shifted swiftly and they were always spoken about as outside contenders.
McCarthy added the MTN8 cup to the club’s trophy cabinet and City finished fifth and fourth in his two completed seasons at the club. McCarthy and City parted ways at the start of November 2019, after a poor run of form
And now, after being unveiled by AmaZulu on December the 13th, McCarthy has been entrusted to turn Usuthu into challengers.
There will be a few familiar faces to welcome the former Bafana Bafana striker at the club. Former national teammates like Tsepo Masilela and Siphiwe Tshabalala, and former City players like Siphelele Mthembu and Lehlohonolo Majoro.
Zungu showed his intent as an owner when he signed high profile players like Tshabalala, Amigo Memela, Xolani Mlambo, Limbikani Mzava, Augustine Mulenga and more recently Veli Mothwa and on-loan Phakamani Mahlambi.
AmaZulu’s next game is a local derby against Golden Arrows on the 16th.
McCarthy’s Coaching Record:
STVV, Belgium – Assistant 8 September 2015 to 30 June 2016
Cape Town City – Head Coach 13 June 2017 to 3 November 2019
At City McCarthy was in charge for 89 games, winning 37, drawing 21 and losing 31.
2017/2018 5th in Absa Premiership, MTN8 Runners-Up
2018/2019 4th in Absa Premiership, MTN8 Champions