Former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker has described Benni McCarthy as a true icon in South African football. Following the strikers retirement Goal spoke to Barker exclusively
South Africa's 1996 Afcon winning coach Barker told Goal that McCarthy was one of the best strikers that South Africa had ever produced and everyone should acknowledge the impact that he had.
“He is an icon and a living legend. I mean he is the best striker that we have ever produced in South Africa. Looking at the fact that his career had some ups and downs at some stage, but he still managed to finish strong,” said Barker.
Barker also added that he was disappointed that injuries had a role to play in his retirement, as he wished he could have continued playing.
“I am disappointed that in the past seasons he suffered injuries, because he would still have played another season, as he always worked hard. He is a great example to everyone, especially the youngsters,” said Barker.
The Bafana coach also shared the memory that he remembers asking McCarthy who his favorite player was back then, whilst the striker was playing for Seven Stars. McCarthy answered: John Shoes Moshoeu.
“On that moment I knew that he had a brighter future, because the people that you look up to play a crucial role in your life. It is not surprising that over the years he followed in that greatness and became the best striker as well,” he said.
“If there is anything that people should learn from McCarthy is that hard work does pay off. He was one of the players that was not scared of sweating and that at the end paid off,” he said.