Former Bafana Bafana striker Benni McCarthy has spoken about the battles he faced with racism during his career.
Speaking to the SA Football Journalists Association (Safja) in the wake of mass protests engulfing major cities across the United States following the murder of African-American George Floyd by white police officers, McCarthy said racism remains as prevalent many years after he first experienced it.
“Listen‚ you see what’s going on in the world right now; it’s very much still part and parcel of society today, but it’s only because of ignorance‚” the 42-year-old said.
“But ja ... my time hasn’t been all smooth sailing. I’ve had exceptionally difficult times. And it is difficult. No matter how much you want to make it different‚ if somebody else doesn’t want to accept this part of me there’s very little that one can do about that.
“in today’s society‚ do you see a lot of us coaching in Europe? Because ja ... it’s just how society is that the majority of club owners don’t feel comfortable having an African or black person in charge of their team. We aren’t going to change that.
“We can only continue to fight it and hope that people do see clearly‚ and do the right things one day because maybe ... at least we set the tone for the kids coming in the next generation‚ and by then hopefully it’s changed.”
McCarthy says racism was very much part of his life coming through the ranks, though he feels the way it is expressed may have changed a bit.
“Back then it was blatant; now people turn their backs and say it behind your back. They don’t come to your face or do it in ways that it’s getting highlighted now. Back in the days when I started they’d tell you to your face and you must just deal with it.”