Ajax Cape Town chairman Efstathiou reveals 'a number of meetings' with Benni McCarthy
Ajax Cape Town chairman Ari Efstathiou says that he did hold "a number of meetings" with Benni McCarthy with a view to him coaching the GladAfrica Championship leaders‚ but the Bafana Bafana legend ultimately had intentions to continue his career in Europe.
McCarthy began his head coaching career at Ajax’s bitter rivals Cape Town City – owned by John Comitis‚ whose brother-in-law Efstathiou ousted as chairman of Ajax in a family power feud in 2013.
The ex-FC Porto and Blackburn Rovers striker showed promise as a coach‚ winning the MTN8 cup and finishing fifth in the Absa Premiership in 2017-18‚ and fourth in 2018-19.
This season City fired McCarthy in November after a string of poor results.
Efstathiou said he held talks with McCarthy after Ajax’s Dutch head coach Andries Ulderink resigned in sympathy to suspended goalkeeper-coach Hans Vonk in late January.
“At the time that we got the resignation from Andries Ulderink we were sitting with about a two-point lead with 11 games to go‚” Efstathiou said.
“We were a bit concerned of what the next best move would be. Because we didn’t want to bring in a strange coach who was going to try and bring in different methods on a train that was running perfectly on track.
“And we felt at the time that Benni might come in and change not necessarily much of what we were doing‚ but rather bring his management skills.
“And I did have several meetings with him and he was very keen to come.
“But I think the problem with his family being away [in Scotland]‚ and I don’t think his wife [Stacey Munro] wanted to return to SA‚ and his view was that he wanted to further his career on a European stage were the reasons for not coming to us.
“There was never a discussion of money. We never got to it.
“It didn’t happen and we gave the position to Calvin [Marlin]‚ and look at the results. Sometimes things happen for a reason. Calvin has been outstanding.”
As caretaker ex-Ajax and Bafana goalkeeper Marlin had steered the club to seven points clear (48 from 24 games) of second-placed Swallows FC with six matches remaining in the 2019-20 GladAfrica Championship‚ making the Urban Warriors clear promotion favourites before the shutdown of football due to the coronavirus on March 16.