‘I was a bit scared to pick up the phone,’ says newly appointed Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy

John Comitis sought to move quickly after the shock of Eric Tinkler walking out on Cape Town City last week and took just days to make up his mind about a new coach for his club.


“We had 22 applications and a lot of other expressions of interest from intermediaries for others‚” said the City owner.

“Names like Claudio Gentile‚ Claudio Batistuta.

“Paul Dolezar called me himself. It was very heartening to realise the impact we have made in just one year.”

Comitis confirmed Benni McCarthy as the club’s new coach on Tuesday in a decision that was the worst-kept secret in South African football.

“I was watching Roland Garros when I got the call on Thursday and I knew immediately what it was all about because I had heard about what had happened with Tinkler‚” said McCarthy.

“I was a bit scared to pick up the phone because I knew that would be the end of my five-year plan.

“I wanted to finish my coaching badges and to educate myself properly. But I knew by picking up the phone my plans would go down the toilet.

“John gave it to me! I tried to explain him about my five-year plan but he said ‘just go home and take it from there.”

McCarthy caught a plane to Cape Town on Saturday‚ his lawyers sorted out his contract on Monday and on Tuesday was named as the club’s new coach.

“You can’t mess around‚” added Comitis.

“You have to move on these things and once I made up my mind I wanted to get it all sorted.”

While it is a massive gamble on an untested coach‚ with just one season as an assistant in the Belgian league‚ it is also a massive publicity coup for the club.

“We don’t want to just be ordinary‚” Comitis added.

McCarthy is set to return to his home in Scotland‚ where he lives with wife Stacey and daughter Lima Rose.

But he will be back in Cape Town on June 23‚ a week before the players return from their holiday for pre-season training.