Congratulations Benni, now go conquer the world!

S’Busiso Mseleku (File)
S’Busiso Mseleku (File)
Every time a Premier Soccer League (PSL) club appoints a local coach to lead them, I feel like jumping up and down with excitement.

I feel the kind of joy that families usually experience at the birth of a baby.

But just like it is said that the reason babies cry at birth, it’s because of the thought of troubles they are going to be exposed to ... something I don’t have any veracity for but I also feel a tinge of anxiety.

There are a number of reasons for my trepidation at such developments.

First, the appointment is just the beginning of a honeymoon. This phase is over before you can finish the word START!

But maybe I’m jumping the gun.

Let me first explain the reason for my exhilaration at the news that a local boykie has been given the task of leading a professional team.

I’m a great believer at the notion of 'Local is Lekker'.

If in doubt, just check this past season’s Absa Premiership log. It will tell you that out of the top 10 clubs, only SuperSport United (Stuart Baxter) who finished fifth, and sixth-placed Polokwane City who were guided by Belgian Luc Eymael for the better part of the season, were coached by foreigners, with the other eight having been mentored by locals.

Even going back through the years, you will find that the likes of Pitso Mosimane, Gavin Hunt and Gordon Igesund have dominated with the likes of Baxter and Ruud Krol chipping in here and there.

One statistic that always shocks people when I throw it at them is that no foreign coach has won the Soccer World Cup since its inception in 1930 as all nations who have won it have done so being coached by a compatriot.

So appointing local coaches gives them an opportunity to develop and hopefully one day we will have a local coach win the World Cup, but they can’t get there without being given a start somewhere.

So McCarthy’s appointment comes as exciting news.

Besides having been a prolific striker for Bafana Bafana in his heyday, playing in some of the best leagues in Europe, including the Portuguese first division and the English Premiership and winning the Champions League, he has gone on and equipped himself with a UEFA A Coaching Licence.

So is he qualified for this position? The answer is a big YES!

Now for my worries.

The set-up in South African football is such that it seems coaches are set up for failure.

As one coach once pointed out to me, the word “professional” must be used very guardedly when it comes to South African football. While he was referring to players on and off the field, I would also include certain clubs’ administrations.

This in turn frustrates coaches to no end.

But I have very high regard for John Comitis and what he has done from Ajax Cape Town to the recent miracle he has performed with Cape Town City.

I think the set-up at the club is conducive for McCarthy to reach for the stars with his feet firmly on the ground.

I am a bit wary that Eric Tinkler left a bit too prematurely, having not finished the job he stated, but in Benni we trust and wish him all the luck in his maiden season as a fully-blown professional coach.

Good luck son of the soil!

S'Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of the biggest awards in a career spanning over 30 years. He is currently City Press Sports Editor.

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