Thursday, 24 May 2012

Moeneeb Josephs and Benni McCarthy: the facts. If you want the truth, ask Benni

Finders keepers: Khune and Josephs
BENNI McCARTHY has had a hard time this week. Surprising really. Last Saturday his two superb goals – a thumping header and a devastating free-kick – won the ABSA Premier League title for Orlando Pirates at a throbbing Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban.
But just when you thought Benni, who arrived back on these shores last winter after perhaps the most horrific West Ham career in history, was ready to be crowned a hero, here he is, tweeting: “Unbelievable how much stick I’m getting for Moeneeb pulling out of Bafana. Why do people hate so much? Just respect his decision please.”
Well, yes, of course we will respect the international retirement of one Moeneeb Josephs, the Orlando Pirates goalkeeper. In a statement released on Wednesday morning, the 32-year-old from Cape Town proclaimed: “It is with a heavy heart, and after careful consideration and discussion with both my family and manager, that I have elected to retire from international football with immediate effect.”
 “At the age of 32, keeping in mind the injuries that I have sustained, together with my desire to prolong my career, and considering the fantastic young goalkeepers in our country, I believe that it is the correct time to ‘step aside’.
“In addition, I have spent very little time with my family in recent years, and I believe this decision will give me the opportunity to do so.”
It’s that kind of moving, selfless explanation of his shock retirement from Pitso Mosimane’s World Cup qualifying squad which might reduce the average Ghostly Sea Robber to tears.
If… and it’s a big IF… you hadn’t read team-mate McCarthy’s quotes early on the same day.
Remember, Josephs made his Bafana debut against Zimbabwe in 2003 – but he’s only won 22 caps in the last nine years as Itumeleng Khune blocks the path to Pitso’s No1 jersey.
Even when he turned out against the Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe last year when everyone else was pulling out, “Slimkat” found himself dumped for the Nelson Mandela Challenge in Port Elizabeth at the end of February when Kaizer Chiefs stopped Khune returned from injury (not just any injury, he had four months with pneumonia and a “groin strain”) against Senegal.
With those facts clear in our minds, here’s what Benni told the Star’s Jonty Mark as the Buccaneers bus whizzed around Johannesburg showing off the latest Piratical haul of PSL, Telkom Cup and MTN Supereight trophies.
“Moeneeb is my roommate and he was asking me for my input, and I said ‘You are on your own, I don’t want to advise you, make your decision, and whatever you decide I am behind you’. When he explained his reasons the man just broke down crying.
“I tried to put myself in his shoes, and if I was in his shoes I would have done exactly the same thing. If I feel I am doing more than enough to at least earn a chance to be number one, and I am not being selected as the number one striker… I would pull myself out of the race as well.
 “You do everything possible to fight for the number one spot, but you know yourself you are never going to get the number one, because it’s fairly clear it’s Itumeleng Khune.
 “Khune’s a great goalkeeper who’s worked hard but you have to make it open for everyone to fight for the No1. It’s clearly not like that, it’s plain to see that the manager has his ideas of who is the No1, irrespective of other great goalkeepers around.
“So, in an act of frustration, you retire. It is better to continue to do what makes you happy, to play football, club football. I think it’s sad Moeneeb has pulled out of the national team, he’s an absolute gem. I hope people won’t hate him.”
Of course, with Benni’s quotes having appeared on Wednesday morning, the Josephs statement fell flat. It didn't help that "Slimkat" had blundered so badly for the Dylan Sheppard goal in their title-winning 4-2 against Golden Arrows last Saturday.
As a result, the social networks launched various assaults on McCarthy, suggesting he’d “persuaded” Josephs to quit his country, that he should keep his mouth shut and stay out of these things.
Benni, who often let Bafana down during his career in Europe, found himself under huge pressure – so much so that he volunteered to appear on Robert Marawa’s Thursday night live tonight on SS4 to set the record straight.
I’ll add those quotes later. But for now, let’s have a bit of sanity here. Benni didn’t lie. He simply outlined Moeneeb’s difficult situation and the reasons for his international retirement with far more honestly than Josephs’ statement did.
Benni, appearing on Marawa’s Thursday night live, made light his exclusion from Pitso’s latest squad. At 34 he was left out while another striker of the same age – PSL top scorer Siyabonga Nomvethe of Moroka Swallows – enjoyed a recall.
He chose instead to offer this: “Coming from a place like Hanover Park and to go to Ajax Amsterdam, such a great club, that has to be the highlight of my career.”
Then, asked if he influenced Moeneeb’s decision, Benni said: “I can’t even influence my own little kids! How can I influence an adult? Bafana has got nothing to do with me. I don’t talk about that to anyone.
“I’m always there to support. He came to tell me the situation. Moeneeb explained what happened and that was it.
“My advice? Whatever he decides, the team will stick with him. I didn’t say he did the right thing or the wrong thing. That’s not my place.
“He’s one of my closest friends in the team.”
Frank. Honest. Typical of Benni. Look, McCarthy doesn’t deserve criticism for revealing his pal Moeneeb’s agony. He deserves a medal. If you want to know the truth about South African football, listen to Benni. He tells it like it is.


  1. So Neal u tell me that all 2nd choice keepers should retire? Senzo from buccaners? Should he retire cos slim Kat gets selected ahead of him irrespective of form? In Spain national team should Valdez who has won the zamora trophy 4 seasons running recuse himself from the team because he is behind Casillas n Reina in the packing order? Let's be logical n open minded before we take sides n jump into premature praise n worshipping of certain individuals....I rest my keys...

  2. hahahaha! Benni Mc in the retirement area. He must stop fathering his team mates man. Its crystal clear he influenced Josephs's early retirement sies man

  3. Very true Neal. He speaks his mind with neither fear nor favour. Maybe staying in England helped him a lot. Thats I love Benni so much! Abshai

  4. joseph did the right thng no matter hw hrd he tryd dis cow pitso wud nvr gave hm a fair chance

  5. That's what I like about Benni, he tells it like it is and South Africans don't like being told the truth, hence they up in arms and accussing Benni of influencing Moeneeb instead of facing and addressing the problem we have, in the Bafana squard you don't play because of your form but rather because you have always been there in that position.

  6. Ok forgive we for being an ignorant folly BUT whats this whole fuss about ?? Slimkat is 32 years of age, Itu is 25. That says it all, doesnt take a rocket scientist to understand. Lets bloody respect the guy's decision and forgoodness sakes refrain from launching unwanted and ill-informed attacks on other individuals.

  7. Now I understand why he was left out of the squad, because he is a troublemaker. Even if he is telling the truth it was not his place to appoint himself as Joseph's spokesperson. We would have just accepted Joseph's statement and there would be no hard feelings. Uyaphapha uBenni!

  8. Thanks for your comment guys, particularly like your "I rest my keys" Kasie guy! Yes, Benni can be seen as a troublemaker but as least he doesn't mess about. McCarthy, after a long roller-coaster career, tells it like it is. Nandile, I'm not saying whether Moeneeb is right to retire or not, personally I think he should fight on.