The appointment of Benni McCarthy as one of Manchester United’s managers was unexpected and came as a pleasant surprise to many South Africans.
McCarthy was announced as a forwards and attacking coach at United over the weekend and his boss Erik Ten Hag has explained how his hiring came about.
“There was still a place in our coaching staff that I wanted to fill,” Ten Hag told club TV channel MUTV.
“(We wanted) Someone with a different voice and Benni is the one. He has experience as a manager. He was a coach at professional level and he’s a former striker, a very successful striker as well.
Regarding McCarthy’s role, Hag said: “He will focus on positioning and attacking. I’m not just talking about forwards, but integrating full-backs and midfielders as well. Our way of playing has to be dynamic.
McCarthy also expressed his joy working for his childhood team and said he hopes to make a difference at Old Trafford.
“I’m delighted to be here and hope to make a real difference for United this season. There’s no bigger scene than this.
“Being here is a privilege and the smallest chance these players get has to be grabbed with both hands. Look, the mentality around the club now is 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 we can challenge ourselves to enter the Champions League places and hopefully change the dynamics of (Manchester) City and Liverpool,” said the former AmaZulu mentor. .
McCarthy’s nomination was met with great enthusiasm and he was inundated with congratulatory messages on social media.
Among these was his former boss at AmaZulu, Manzini Zungu who is the manager of the club. He congratulated McCarthy and said he was sure he would make it. This despite McCarthy leaving the Durban side on a sour note and making nasty allegations against them.
“It’s the pinnacle of football, it’s a massive fixture. (I’m) super proud of this legend, Benni. We as the uSuthu family have no doubt that you will succeed at Man U. A great kudos to Benni McCarthy,” Zungu wrote on Twitter.
A political party, the EFF also had their say: “The EFF would like to congratulate former Bafana striker Bafana, manager Benni McCarthy, who has been added to Manchester United’s backroom squad as a coach of the first team forwards.”