Former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates striker Benni McCarthy, the most decorated South African footballer, announced his retirement on Thursday.
The 35-year old began his professional career at Seven Stars in Cape Town.
Benni went on to play in Holland, Spain, Portugal and England, and returned to South Africa to join Orlando Pirates.
McCarthy scored two goals in the final half-hour to help Pirates defeat Golden Arrows 4–2 to retain their Premier League title. This means McCarthy is the first South African footballer who has won three league titles with three different football teams on two different continents.
He previously won league championships with Ajax Amsterdam in Holland as well as FC Porto in Portugal both in Europe.
Benni is Bafana Bafana’s all-time leading scorer with 31 international goals under his belt. He announced his arrival on the international scene at the 1998 African Cup of Nations, where he finished as the joint top goalscorer with Egyptian striker Hossam Hassan with seven goals. He was subsequently named Player of the Tournament.
He is also the only South African footballer to win Europe’s top club competition, the Uefa Champions League, with Porto in 2004.
The former Bafana talisman announced his decision through his agency.
“I have been so blessed to have enjoyed a remarkable career that took me from the township fields of Nyanga Stadium, to winner’s medals in the Uefa Champions League and World Club Cup — the highest levels that a player can achieve in club football.”
“I retire having represented my country at senior level 80 times and scored a record 31 goals. Two Soccer World Cup finals, in France and Korea/Japan, an Olympic Games and an under-20 World Cup Finals will be memories that live in my heart forever.”
“And to have come home to South Africa for a final chapter, and to have won the treble with Orlando Pirates, was the type of finale that only dreams are made of.”
“It has been a 17-year professional career that surpassed even my own expectations and I’ve been privileged to have played under many great coaches, including the very best, Jose Mourinho.”
“Football has been good to me – it has provided special moments and, in the process, has enabled me to have been in a position to have improved the lives of my family members. For that, I am most grateful.”