Today marks Benni McCarthy’s one year anniversary since the man known as the 'Big Brother' decided to hang up his boots after finishing off an illustrious career with Orlando Pirates, which included a treble-winning season with the Ghost.
McCarthy who holds the record as the national soccer team’s all-time highest goalscorer with 32 goals, is considered to be one of Mzansi's most successful exports.
Coming from humble beginnings in the Cape Flats of the Western Cape, Big Brother began playing professional football and at the tender age of 17, signed for Seven Stars who were at the time campaigning in the first division.
He moved to Cape Town Spurs which later became Ajax Cape Town, a feeder club for Ajax Amsterdam, which provided the young Benni with his European break when he signed for the Dutch giants in 1997.
McCarthy's next journey saw him sail throughout Europe, having stints in Spain for La Liga’s Celta Vigo FC before joining Portuguese giants, FC Porto, where the Capetonian really announced himself to the international football arena even wining the UEFA Champions League under the mentorship of Jose Mourinho.
Benni finally made his dream move to England in 2006 when he joined Barclays Premier league outfit, Blackburn Rovers, where he finished the league as the second highest goal scorer with 18 premier league goals behind another African, Didier Drogba.
Big Brother had somewhat of an unsuccessful stint at West Ham, before making his return to South African soil to don the black and white of Orlando Pirates. He was part of the treble-winning Bucs side that clinched the MTN 8, Nedbank Cup and Absa Premiership Title in the 2011/2012 season.
Often labelled as a rebel for his outspoken assertiveness, Benni has had his fair share of controversy and highly publicised incongruities with the South African Football Association and supporters alike, but he has always delivered where it mattered most - on the field of play and scoring the goals.
Soccer Laduma would like to tribute South Africa’s favourite son for the accolades and achievements he has contributed to South African football.