Bradley Carnell says he is more than happy to return to his assistant coach role at New York Red Bulls, though he admits he is also willing to entertain any head coach positions that come his way.
The former Bafana Bafana left-back took over as caretaker coach following the sacking of Chris Armas last month and won three of his five games in charge. But the appointment of Gerhard Struber means Carnell will return to his original role once the Austrian’s paperwork is sorted.
“We made a good, positive turnaround, winning three of the last five [games],” he told Daily Maverick. “It is exciting preparing your team to play against World Cup winners like Blaise Matuidi and Thierry Henry, who was the opposition coach [against Montreal Impact].
“Working out a plan for quality players like Gonzalo Higuain … it is challenging, but at the same time exciting. Especially with a young team like we have, who have a strong culture and a strong philosophy, and who play a high-energy brand of football. I have been really comfortable in the role and enjoyed it.”
“The arrival of the new coach is still four or five weeks away, so we have to keep on going and maintain the standards we have set.
“Would I slip back into another role? For sure. Can I imagine working with the new coach? Absolutely.
“I am a team player and a servant to the game of soccer. I have a lot of admiration for the club and the people working here.”
Carnell says he has been offered a few head coach roles, but feels the timing has not been right just yet.
“I always believe that everything is about timing and you need to understand your role and what is currently required. In no way am I pushing for a head coach role [elsewhere],” he says.
“There were a couple of things that came across my desk recently, there was something in Malaysia a few months back. There have been a few other things that have been interesting, but have I really wanted to take them up?
“It is maybe not the right time. If opportunities come I will look at them seriously, but right now it is about focusing on the team I am at.”
Carnell was also full of praise for countryman Pitso Mosimane, who recently left Mamelodi Sundowns to take over the hotseat at Egyptian giants Al-Ahly. It was a very rare instance of a South African coach taking a major job overseas.
“We have to earn it,” Carnell explains. “We have to put ourselves on display and test ourselves against big stars. Every day you have to prove yourself and show you are capable of growing and being comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
“I think what Pitso has done is amazing; it is really awesome the opportunity that has been given to him.”