BENNI McCARTHY QUITS FOOTBALL
By: Khanyisani Dlomo
Former FC Porto, Blackburn Rovers, Bafana Bafana and one of the most successful South African players, Benni McCarthy has retired, he said in a statement through his agency on Wednesday night.
The 35-year-old began his professional carrier at Hanover Park in Cape Town. Since then, he never looked back and went to play overseas. He went to Holland, Spain, Portugal, England and returned back home to play for Orlando Pirates.
McCarthy said: “I have been so blessed to have enjoyed a remarkable career that took me from the township fields of Nyanga Stadium, to winner’s medals in the Uefa Champions League and World Club Cup – the highest levels that a player can achieve in club football.
“I retire having represented my country at senior level 80 times and scored a record 31 goals. Two Soccer World Cup finals, in France and Korea/Japan, an Olympic Games and a u-20 World Cup Finals will be memories that live in my heart forever. And to have come home to South Africa for a final chapter, and to have won the treble with Orlando Pirates, was the type of finale that only dreams are made of.
“It has been a 17-year professional career that surpassed even my own expectations and I’ve been privileged to have played under many great Coaches, including the very best, Jose Mourinho. Football has been good to me – it has provided special moments and in the process, has enabled me to have been in a position to have improved the lives of my family members. For that, I am most grateful.
“I’d like to thank so many people for making so many aspects of this journey possible. My family has always been a tremendous support, especially my mom, Dora, and my late father, Dudley. I trust that I have made them proud in some small way. Sponsors, like Nike, who have been there for me for the past 15 years and I appreciate that. And finally, my mentor and business manager, Rob Moore, who has walked along this road with me since I joined him in 1995 as a 17-year-old.
“Football is my life. I have played the game and I love the game…it’s in my blood. For the next chapter, I’d like to concentrate on getting my Coaching Badges and at the same time, be part of a club where I can get practical experience. I’d also like to do some television work because I enjoy that aspect of the game as well.”