Benni McCarthy continues to be a role model for the next generation of superstars, be it in his capacity as player or a coach.
The 42-year-old is South Africa’s most successful export, having won a number of trophies during his time at Ajax Amsterdam, Celta Vigo and FC Porto, including the UEFA Champions League under Jose Mourinho at the latter.
Nakedi Chipu, a young midfielder who signed with Portuguese third division side SC Espinho last year, says McCarthy’s legacy is still strong in the country.
“Here they always say Benni McCarthy was a good player and is still one of their best in Porto,” he told KickOff.com. “He won them the Champions League; they like him a lot and he made things easier for us coming from South Africa to be trusted. The Portuguese believe in us because of Benni McCarthy.”
As for Ayanda Patosi, it was more McCarthy the coach who influenced his career. The playmaker arrived at Cape Town City after seven years in Belgium, and initially butted heads with his manager.
“I thought the PSL would be easy,” the 27-year-old told the South African Football Journalists Association (Safja). “I didn't work [hard]; I didn't give him the confidence for him to say that he has a player he can believe and trust that can win games.
“I was not focused on football, I was starting to hang out with friends, I didn't realise Benni was doing all that to help me become a better player. I didn’t understand what Benni wanted to do with me, but I began to realise when I sat back and spoke to him and to Mr John [Comitis].
“I realised he wanted the best out of me in the end and I'm not in Cape Town for holidays. I'm here to work; playing for Cape Town City doesn't mean I'm on holiday, I can't just do what I want and expect to perform well on the field.
“So I went to Eastern Cape and I came back and we talked about it and I started doing my job, worked hard and we, in the end, we were fine and worked well very well."
Patosi added: “He's a coach who doesn't give a shit if you are a star or a big player or something ... he treats everyone in the dressing-room the same.
“Off the field he's nice and everything, but when you get to the dressing-room it's a different story. It doesn't matter if you are Ayanda Patosi or Teko Modise or someone ... if a young player comes and works hard and puts a hand on coach Benni, he doesn't care.
“He will play that player and put you on the bench. I think that worked for us, we all worked hard for him - we got results with him.”