Benni McCarthy’s appointment as one of the coaches at Manchester United was unexpected and came as a pleasant surprise to many South Africans.
McCarthy was announced at the weekend as strikers and attacking coach at United and his boss Erik Ten Hag has explained how his hiring came about.
“There was still one place in our coaching staff that I wanted to fill,” Ten Hag told the club’s television channel, MUTV.
“(We wanted) Someone with a different voice and Benni is that one. He has experience as a manager. He was a coach at the professional level and he is a former striker, a really successful striker as well.”
On McCarthy’s role, Hag said: “He will focus on the positioning and attacking. I’m not saying only the strikers, but also the integration from the full-backs and midfielders. Our way of play has to be dynamic.”
McCarthy also expressed his delight at working for his childhood team, and says he hopes he makes a difference at Old Trafford.
“I am delighted to be here and I hope to make a real difference to United this season. There is no bigger stage than this.
“To be here is a privilege and the smallest chance that these players get should be grabbed with both hands. Listen, the mentality around the club is now completely different.
“The manager has addressed the issues and hopefully this season you will see a completely different United and a different hunger among the players.
“We hope that we can challenge ourselves to get in among the Champions League places and hopefully change the dynamics of (Manchester) City and Liverpool,” said the former AmaZulu mentor.
McCarthy’s appointment was met with so much excitement and he was inundated with congratulatory messages on social networks.
Among those was his former boss at AmaZulu, Manzini Zungu who is the club’s director. He congratulated McCarthy and said he was sure he would be successful. This despite McCarthy leaving the Durban side on a sour note and making unpleasant allegations against them.
“This is the pinnacle of football, this is a massive appointment. (I am) super proud of this legend, Benni. We, as uSuthu Family have no doubt that you will succeed at Man U. A huge congratulations to Benni McCarthy,” wrote Zungu on Twitter.
Political party, the EFF also had their say: “The EFF would like to congratulate former Bafana Bafana forward, coach Benni McCarthy, who has been added to the backroom team of Manchester United as a first-team strikers coach.”