Bafana Bafana

Booth on Benni linked with Bafana job: 'I hope he has the final say in certain areas'

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Matthew Booth and Benni McCarthy (Gallo Images)
Matthew Booth and Benni McCarthy (Gallo Images)

Former Bafana Bafana star defender Matthew Booth wants Benni McCarthy to have "the final say in certain areas" if he is confirmed as the next national head coach.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) is expected to unveil McCarthy as the new Bafana Bafana mentor this week after widespread reports that he accepted the challenge of leading the national team.

The 43-year-old is currently the head coach of AmaZulu.

He has taken the Durban side from fighting to avoid relegation to vying for DStv Premiership credentials as they now hold the second spot on the log standings.

SAFA released a scathing statement on Sunday about the widespread media speculation on whether McCarthy will be named the new Bafana Bafana head coach.

If the rumours are true, McCarthy will become the 15th Bafana Bafana coach in a decade, replacing Molefi Ntseki.

The former under-17 national coach was sacked in March after failing to guide the team to next year's Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon.

"SAFA are in a bit of a tight spot. The four men I heard Danny Jordaan had originally shortlisted were Hugo Broos, Hector Cuper, Eric Tinkler and Carlos Queiroz in that order," Booth tells Sport24 in an exclusive interview.

"However, TimesLIVE are reporting that Benni McCarthy has agreed a deal in principle. It's surprising to hear but I hope that he has gone into negotiations hard and has the final say in certain areas.

"I also hope he has some sort of say in the overall development and vision the country is going to take during his tenure."

"If Benni leaves before the end of the domestic season, AmaZulu owner Sandile Zungu has every right to ask for compensation especially when you consider Usuthu's form.

"It hasn't come at the right time for AmaZulu, and I think the sensible thing is for Benni to be caretaker coach for the national team in the meantime while he continues with his project at AmaZulu until the end of the season."

Booth, however, feels that the Ntseki sacking came too quickly as the 52-year-old was only less than 18 months into his five-year deal with SAFA.

"In terms of Ntseki's sacking, I felt it was too short a time for him in the job. As it is, national team coaches have very little time to work with the squad that they want," Booth said.

"However, having said that, I still felt that we should have qualified for AFCON 2021. We should be doing that every two years without fail.

"Ntseki's dismissal was harsh, but in the same breath, it was understandable why he was pushed out," he continued.

"When coaching a senior team, there is more impatience involved, and people want immediate results. At national level, you would expect the association to give a coach more time and be understanding, but when there's a public outcry, there tends to be a knee-jerk reaction for popularity's sake.

"We scream and shout at Bafana, but I think we are looking in the wrong areas."

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