Benni McCarthy in the A team area

By Drum Digital
14 December 2012

Benni McCarthy is back home and enjoying every last minute of it

The Moses Mabhida Stadium is packed to the rafters. Legions of Orlando Pirates fans in their black and white regalia fill the scenic Durban stadium.  The reverberating sounds from their bright vuvuzelas blare across the majestic stands.

The Buccaneers are facing off against Lamontville Golden Arrows in what is a Premier Soccer League (PSL) season decider. It’s the final day of the season and Pirates need nothing less than a win to clinch the 2011/2012 title. At half-time the score is deadlocked at 2-2 and with 30 minutes to go. It’s now or never.

With sheer class and finesse, Benedict “Benni” McCarthy (35) scores with an opportunistic header in the 61st minute and the stadium erupts. The ecstatic Benni runs towards his fans doing the legendary crossbones sign with his arms.

Three minutes into added time he grabs his brace as he curls a superb free kick in at the near post from the edge of the area to end the game at 4-2.

With that title-winning performance, South Africa’s prodigal son announced his return to domestic soccer after 14 years abroad. He also affirmed himself as one of the greatest stars the country has ever produced – becoming the first local player to win three league titles with three different teams in three different countries.

He already won a league championship with Ajax Amsterdam in Holland as well as FC Porto in Portugal. What a way to come home!

“Adapting to everything here has been very easy. I was surprised at how far the country’s come”, he says, when we meet up with him and his Scottish fiancée Stacey Munro (29), and their seven-month-old baby girl, Lima Rosa, at the five-star Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg.

“Its great to be speaking my own language – it’s one of the things I’ve missed,” he says.

 Read more in DRUM - 20 December 2012

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