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Benni has always been happy at AmaZulu despite ‘greedy agents’ – club president

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Benni McCarthy has always been happy at AmaZulu, says club president Sandile Zungu, who added it was greedy agents who fuelled the rumours linking him to the Bafana Bafana job

Benni McCarthy with AmaZulu club president Sandile Zungu at his presentation in December last year. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

AMAZULU president Sandile Zungu says that coach Benni McCarthy has always been happy at the club, adding that it was the “greediness of agents” that fuelled the rumours linking him to Bafana Bafana’s top job.

On Wednesday, the South African Football Association unveiled Hugo Broos as the new Bafana coach, putting an end to a wide range of speculations linking McCarthy to the national team head coaching role following an impressive stint at AmaZulu.

Since the news surface that McCarthy has been on Safa’s radar after they missed out on their initial targets Carlos Queiroz and Pitso Mosimane, Zungu had put his head on the block, denying any official approach from Safa for McCarthy since the departure of Molefi Ntseki.

Some reports, though, suggested Zungu’s denial was an excuse to buy time before Safa actually activated McCarthy’s pay-out clause, which is said to be around R2 million as he still has two years remaining on his contract that he signed late last year.

“I am happy that this matter has been put to rest once and for all. From AmaZulu’s point of view, it was absolute nonsense. It was an interruption that we didn’t need this time in our campaign,” Zungu told Independent Media after Broos’ unveiling on Wednesday.

Zungu, who took over the reins at the club last year, added: “But I was clear that Benni is contracted to do the job. What he had told me is that he loved his job at AmaZulu. I thought it was just the agents who were playing greedy here.”

McCarthy joined Usuthu late last year after being sacked by Cape Town City late in 2019. After being assigned to take AmaZulu to a top-eight finish, he assembled his technical team, including former Bafana teammates Siyabonga Nomvethe and Moeneeb Josephs.

McCarthy has done exceptionally well since assuming the club’s hot seat. In just five months, the 43-year-old has turned Usuthu from perennial relegation candidates to serious title challengers as they are second on the standings.

But despite giving McCarthy another chance in the dugout, Zungu doesn’t feel that they have a stranglehold on the former striker-turned-coach. Instead, he says that they’ve always wanted what’s best for McCarthy, considering how well he’s done at Usuthu.

“Benni is a great person, at a personal level. He’s really great. That he was unemployed when we hired him doesn’t mean much to me. AmaZulu would not have expected him to be beholden to them because we got him when he was unemployed, no,” Zungu said.

“We are not saying that at all. He has the freedom to think and be ambitious. There’s no problem with that. When we had an issue, we said: ‘Look, you are doing so well. We envy you and want you to succeed and be something better. Why is this messing up a good story?’.”