Benni McCarthy has reacted to Jose Mourinho's message after the Bafana Bafana legend was named the DStv Premiership Coach of the Month for January/February, telling Soccer Laduma exclusively what it meant to him.
The former Cape Town City coach returned to South Africa in December to prove his doubters wrong with AmaZulu and has had a great start to his second stint in charge of a PSL club.
As a consequence, he was awarded the Coach of the Month accolade for January/February, and even his former coach Mourinho noticed McCarthy's achievement, sending him a message on Instagram.
"My striker is now a coach of the month!!!!" the Tottenham Hotspur boss wrote, which was "very special" for the former Porto star, as he told Soccer Laduma.
"I think, not just to me but to every South African, it must be truly special to get recognition and receive a message from one of the most famous coaches in the world," McCarthy explained.
Check out Mourinho's reported dream team of the best players he coached below! Was there space for McCarthy?
"One of the most respected coaches, who has done amazing for so many good teams. If you receive a message from such a person, we have to be proud and it just makes you sit back and work even harder because those are the accolades that shape you in becoming a success.
"It shows you are on the right track in achieving or becoming something that he once was. That is what I want now as a coach, I want to be a special coach.
"For me, it was super-important and I felt very proud that he referred to me as 'his striker'.
"Because when I worked under him many, many years ago, I thought that after everything that he has achieved, he would not even remember that he had a striker like me.
"For him to say those words, it was very special."
You can read the full exclusive interview, during which Benni also talks about how close he came to joining Porto's coaching staff, explains why he returned to South Africa, discusses Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, and reveals who his favourites are to win this season's UEFA Champions League, in this week’s Soccer Laduma, edition 1215!