Benni McCarthy and Rob Moore put feelers out for coaching jobs at Porto‚ Rio Ave

Former Cape Town City FC Benni McCarthy during media open day at Hartleyvale Stadium on August 01, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Former Cape Town City FC Benni McCarthy during media open day at Hartleyvale Stadium on August 01, 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa.
Image: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

Benni McCarthy and his agent‚ Rob Moore‚ have been putting out feelers for the Bafana Bafana legend’s next coaching position in Portugal and Scotland‚ while not ruling out a return to the Premier Soccer League.

Former Ajax Amsterdam and Blackburn Rovers striker McCarthy (41) revealed he had applied for the job of Heart of Midlothian manager after being fired by Cape Town City in November. Hearts in December preferred more experienced 46-year-old German ex-Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel.

He said with Hearts relegated as the Scottish Premier League called off their 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus last month‚ he will see if there is another opportunity there.

McCarthy revealed interesting links‚ too‚ to the club he won the 2004 Uefa Champions League with‚ FC Porto‚ and another Portuguese Primeira Liga team‚ Rio Ave.

“My agent‚ Rob‚ has been putting out the feelers and seeing what’s out there for me‚” McCarthy told an online press conference of the SA Football Journalists Association (Safja).

“And something interesting came up. But obviously in this crazy time you can’t react.

“But in Portugal he spoke to one of my old teammates [Andre Vilas Boas‚ not to be confused with the former Chelsea manager] who was still coming up [when McCarthy was playing at Porto]‚ and who is now the sporting director at a club called Rio Ave.

“And he actually gave my agent a few good tips on what to do and what might be on the horizon‚ and what would be a good opportunity for me.

“So once things got back to normal I’ll definitely be following up. It could be valuable for me because I think it’s a place [Portugal] that I know exceptionally well and where I’m very much loved‚ as much as in SA.”

McCarthy said upcoming presidential elections at Porto might decide his chances of a job in their coaching structures.

“The president‚ [Jorge Nuno] Pinto Da Costa‚ is running to extend. He’s been there for 38 years‚” Bafana’s all-time leading scorer said from his second home in Scotland.

“And he’s looking to bring in [former Porto and Portugal goalkeeper] Vítor Baía as his vice president. And Baía did mention something about recruiting players from those 2003‚ 2004‚ 2005 seasons to get back into the academy.

“I had a conversation with him [Baía]. But once the elections are over we’ll know who’s won‚ and who’s been brought in‚ and decisions can be made on that.

“So yes‚ I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Vítor Baía does get elected as the vice-president to Pinto da Costa. And then ja‚ that might be a good start for me.

“It’s in Europe‚ through a club I know very well and I’m very familiar with. And the manager who’s there now [Sérgio Conceição] was also a former team-mate of mine.

“In Scotland‚ Hearts have been relegated. And we’ll see if the German they appointed is going to stay‚ and‚ ja‚ maybe just put my name back in there as well. Because it’s a club that’s literally just down the road from where I live.

“And yes‚ a return to South Africa is not off the table. But it must be the right club.”

McCarthy began his coaching career as assistant-manager at St Truiden in Belgium in 2015-16.

He began his head coaching career with a promising two-and-a-half years at Cape Town City – winning the 2018 MTN8‚ and reaching the final the year before‚ with league finishes of fifth and fourth – but was fired in November after a string of poor results.