McCarthy plays for Parreira

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Benni McCarthy says he has returned to Bafana Bafana to play for the national coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira and not Safa.

In an interview with Kick-Off, the Blackburn Rovers forward stressed that he chose to play for Parreira and not for the national controlling body.

"I play for the coach [Parreira], not for Safa. I report to him and he is my boss. The coach showed me respect by coming out to Manchester to talk to me about coming back to play for Bafana Bafana," McCarthy said.

"He made me realise the importance of playing for my country and what happened in the past has happened. I have buried that in the past. I'm now playing for the coach, for my country and for the people."

He was speaking at a press conference organised by Safa ahead of Bafana Bafana's crunch Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town. Kickoff is at 3pm.

McCarthy has not been part of the national squad since the Afcon in Egypt last January after he accused Safa of not treating him fairly.

At that stage he demanded an apology from Safa vice president Mubarak Mahomed.

"Benni has buried the hatchet and we are no longer focusing on the past. We are now focusing on the future," Sipho Nkumane, Bafana Bafana manager, told Sowetan yesterday.

"Benni is keen to score against Zambia. We all know what he is capable of and we are hoping for a win on Sunday. All the players are in the camp and we are happy the preparations are going well. I urge people of Western Cape to come in big numbers and rally against Ghana," he appealed.

The players trained twice on Tuesday and will have another two sessions today and tomorrow as their preparations for Sunday gain momentum.

Nkumane also revealed that the same squad will be retained for an international friendly against Uruguay scheduled for Ellis Park on Wednesday.

Bafana Bafana will complete their hectic schedule this month against Botswana in a Cosafa Castle Cup match at Super Stadium in Atteridgeville on September 29. Zambia and Mozambique will also meet in the double header.

These matches were initially billed for Germiston Stadium, but Cosafa decided to move them to Atteridgeville because of a shortage of change rooms for teams on the day