South Africa’s all-time leading goal scorer, Benni McCarthy, says Bafana Bafana have failed to make any progress since hosting the FIFA World Cup 10 years ago.
McCarthy says more resources should instead be channelled towards the growth of women’s football.
The former Cape Town City coach was speaking to the South African Football Journalist Association from Scotland earlier this week.
The 42-year-old McCarthy is one of South Africa’s footballers who achieved a lot during his playing days, particularly in Europe.
McCarthy’s professional career spanned 17 years, before venturing into coaching.
He made his Bafana Bafana debut in June 1997 and was capped 80 times before retiring in 2013.
The Cape Town-born McCarthy was a key member of the Bafana Bafana squad that played in its maiden FIFA World Cup in France in 1998.
He says he is disappointed that Bafana didn’t capitalise on hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
“(I am) very disappointed on how we didn’t capitalise on what the country had and where we could have gone from hosting the 2010 World Cup and putting ourselves on a level, not saying near, close to or next to the likes of Brazil, the likes of Germany, the likes of Spain … the likes of England on how they have strived to become better as the years gone by, and we had all the amazing facilities, but we’ve still achieved absolutely nothing,” says McCarthy.
McCarthy remains the only South African player to have won the UEFA Champions League with F.C. Porto 16 years ago.
In 2018, he qualified for his UEFA pro-Coaching Licence, which is the highest recognised coaching qualification in world football.
“Except for the PSL … the PSL has strived. The PSL has made amazing steps forward becoming a better league and definitely the best league in Africa. You know, you see a change in the PSL, but when it comes to the national team, SAFA, we’ve just gone completely backwards and it’s sad,” says McCarthy.
According to McCarthy, a lot more resources should be channelled towards the promising Banyana Banyana team.
Despite having made their FIFA Women’s World Cup debut last year, Banyana Banyana also qualified for two Olympic Games in a row.
“The PSL or SAFA or whoever, you know they should make it mandatory that every professional club must have a women’s football team. That’s the only way women’s football is gonna grow and it’s gonna get better and you see at international level, women’s football is probably the strongest that South Africa has. They qualify for everything,” says McCarthy.
McCarthy says a fulltime professional league will further strengthen women’s football in South Africa.
“We need to take some stuff that they do well and put in into our own game. But also give back by Kaizer Chiefs, Pirates, Sundowns, Cape Town City … every top PSL team must have a women’s football team and they must become fulltime professionals as well,” says McCarthy.
Banyana Banyana are ranked 53rd on the FIFA world rankings and are third on the African continent.