Benni McCarthy scaled many highs and lows in his illustrious playing career, facing plenty of unnecessary criticism of his weight.
Benni McCarthy has been harshly criticized for his weight gain since switching from player to coach. It must be difficult to transition from elite athlete to tactician, though. Besides, how many of those throwing shade at Benni are in perfect shape themselves? Not many, I guess.
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Benni McCarthy and his weight struggles
McCarthy’s bloated figure was the primary reason he parted ways with then English Premiership club, West Ham, in April 2011. The Hammers ordered him to lose weight in three months to make the squad in the 2010-11 Premier League campaign.
Benni McCarthy, who hails from Hanover Park township in Cape Town, first played in the domestic Premiership in 1997 for the Cape Town Spurs.
“I’ve changed my lifestyle and eating habits,” he said back in 2011 when he was an Orlando Pirates player.
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Benni on that rabbit food diet
“I eat more rabbit food these days; I mean the leaves (salads) and a lot of vegetables and take less carbohydrates after 5pm and also spend more hours sleeping and drink a lot of water.”
“I was never really that fat but I was given much stick. The biggest crime was that picture of me in an extra-small Bafana jersey (at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium). That jersey was meant for Bernard Parker because he also wears No 17 for the national team.
I think Pirates’ fitness trainer (Japhet Borges) was shown that picture,” he chuckled.
McCarthy admitted to fear of looking at the scale
When it came time for weigh-ins, Benni wasn’t too excited about it all.
“I can’t even say how much I weighed because I never wanted to know. When I jumped onto the scale I was only happy to know that my weight was going down.
“I figured out that if I or other players can embark on a healthy diet, one can almost feel younger for longer. Our bodies are our weapons that we must look after.”
Back to the present day, and Benni’s Man United team are hitting their stride. They face Charlton in the EFL Cup quarterfinals tonight and then they host City in a fierce Manchester Derby this Saturday.
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Meanwhile, you can get more insights, analysis and love for the beautiful game from James Freemantle
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