National team going backwards, says Benni

Johannesburg – Retired Bafana Bafana stalwart and all-time leading goal scorer Benni McCarthy feels his beloved national team is going backwards at an alarming rate.

McCarthy, one of the most outspoken personalities in the local game, spoke after Bafana failed to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations and head coach Molefi Ntseki was axed.

“South Africa is our country and we want to see Bafana in major competitions. We have gone a bit backwards, but I am sure we will get there one day. Our players must learn and adapt to diff erent mindsets and mentality so that they can improve and become better and be at the top of their game so that when they do go and represent Bafana, they have a winning mentality. Because that’s what is lacking.

“We no longer have your Benni McCarthys, your Siyabonga Nomvethes or players like Quinton Fortune, Sibusiso Zuma or even Mbulelo ‘OJ’ Mabizela,” said McCarthy. “

Nowadays, you don’t need to play for your team to be selected in the Bafana set-up, that’s how things have become.”

Even 10 years after retiring from playing, Benni is still leading Bafana’s scorer’s charts with 31 goals. That record will not be broken pretty soon because the only active Bafana player next on the charts has scored 13 goals.

The likes of Nomvethe and former Bafana coach Clive Barker have thrown their weight behind McCarthy to take over as Bafana head coach.

“We have to make it difficult for players to play for Bafana by producing teams that are competitive,” said McCarthy.

The 43-year-old Cape Flats born coach was mindful that coaching a national team is not the easiest thing.

“We support national coaches and wish them luck because they only get to see players only for a week, and in that week you have to do everything – tactics, techniques and other aspects of the game. If the players cannot get that from their clubs, how do you expect them to have it at the national team?”

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