Benni not in the 18th area

Benedict Saul “Benni” McCarthy (born 12 November 1977) is a South African professional footballer who is currently playing his club football in the Premier League for West Ham United and internationally for the South African National football team as a striker. He joined the Hammers on 1 February 2010 on a two and a half-year deal until the summer of 2012.

Benni McCarthy was born in Cape Town and grew up in Hanover Park on the Cape Flats, an area notorious for its high unemployment rate and gang violence. He is the son of Dudley and Dora McCarthy and has two brothers and a sister.

McCarthy started playing at a local side called Young Pirates which was managed by his uncles. He then joined the youth structures of a local amateur club called Crusaders. At age 17, he was signed by 1st division club Seven Stars. Playing for Seven Stars, the 18-year old McCarthy scored 1 goal in 29 games in the 1995–96 season, followed by another 12 goals in 20 matches, which earned him a transfer to Cape Town Spurs which two years later merged with Seven Stars to form Ajax Amsterdam feeder team, Ajax Cape Town.

Since then Benni has played for teams listed below:

  • Celta Vigo (Spain)
  • Porto (Portugal)
  • Blackburn Rovers
  • West Ham United

It was at West Ham United that Benni on 6 February 2010 sustained an injury that would keep him out for six weeks. He has since then has battled with fitness and as a result of not getting much game time leading up to WC2010 has not made the cut.

Benni will forever be a legend on the Cape Flats, a success story and a role model to many youngsters aspiring to be the best they can be. In my by book Benni will always be in the area.


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