Life is usually not the same for retired footballers, after years of travelling, five-star hotels, fans and media fighting over your attention, it is easy to feel lost once you hang up your boots.
Stories of former footballers going broke after retirement are common as most of them lack any form of education or training. To be able to continue providing for your family, you need to tackle and dribble through lives hurdles like a pro. Most retired footballers are not ready for this life and the challenges that come with it.
Starting from scratch in another profession is not easy at all and most cannot survive in their new environment. However, one man is thriving in his new role and is proving that anything is possible if you hard work, and you are fully committed to your job.
Bafana Bafana all time goal scorer Benni McCarthy has added the 2018 MTN8 medal to his cabinet after guiding Cape Town City FC to victory on Saturday, 29 September 2018. McCarthy lifted a number of trophies during his playing days but this is his first piece of silverware as head coach. McCarthy is one of the most recognizable figures to ever emerge out of South Africa.
His achievements with the national team made him one of the most highly rated forwards during his playing days. Some will remember him for being named as the Player of the Tournament at the 1998 AFCON while the four goals he scored for Bafana Bafana in 13 minutes will live forever live in the memories of many football pundits and supporters alike.
Despite many players moving to Europe over the years, McCarthy remains as the only South African to have won the UEFA Champions League. While for many years, he was always among the top goal scorers in some of the world’s top leagues. The Cape Town born star made his mark in Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and England but his achievements as a footballer count for nothing in his new role as head coach at Cape Town City FC.
We have seen a number former players go into coaching after their playing careers are over. Some have failed while a lucky few have been successful. Being a good footballer doesn’t guarantee you will be successful as head coach. Just as life is not easy after retirement, establishing yourself in the coaching profession can’t be any easier.
However, McCarthy has already tasted success in only two years in his new role. After playing under the likes of Jose Mourinho during his playing career, the Cape Town born mentor might well be on his way to becoming South Africa’s greatest coach of all-times.
By Msizi Gumede