Benni McCarthy has candidly discussed his infamous 2010 FIFA World Cup snub and opened up on why he believes he was not selected by Carlos Alberto Parreira.
McCarthy remains Bafana Bafana’s all-time top goalscorer with a total of 31 strikes during his 15-year international career between 1997 and 2012, when he last featured for the national team.
View a timeline of Benni's national team career in a few images below...
However, as we commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, it would be amiss to forget one of the country’s biggest stars and his omission from that final squad.
The 42-year-old coach has since reflected on the feeling of being snubbed from Parreira’s final 23-man squad and believes there was a sinister motive behind this.
"Even being four or five kilos overweight [at the time in 2010], I was better than the majority of the players there, just because of my experience and how badly I wanted to be part of playing a World Cup in my country,” McCarthy said in an interview with SAFJA.
"I worked extra hard just to get myself into good condition so you could notice the quality even more. Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way but I think, for me, it was [the coach’s way] to get back at me.
"I don't know if you can recall, there was a period where Alberto said that he wanted to have a three-month training camp in Brazil, and that really led the lines.
"He wanted to convince the European players [to go on a three-month camp], and the first trip he came to England to see myself and Aaron 'Mbazo' [Mokoena], because we were both at Blackburn at the time.
"So the chairman of the club said there was no ways in hell that they would let myself and Aaron go for three months and miss that period of the season, because we were still very much in the thick of things.
"Alberto then said to me – and I was flying at Blackburn in the previous year – if I put pressure on the club, they would let me go, so I must just tell the club that I want to go to this camp.
“But, listen, my bread and butter got paid by Blackburn my friend. If they tell you no, then it's no. I can't put pressure on the club to let me go for three months and then come back and they put me out the door.
“[Was] SAFA going to pay my wages and give me the life I worked so hard to have? No. If I'm out of a club then I don't make the national team squad, so I couldn't go on and fight against my club, and that was the priority.
“So I said, ‘Coach [Pereira], if the club doesn't want to let me go there's nothing I can do about it. I think he felt in a way that I wasn't complying to him asking me to fight to play for Bafana instead of against Blackburn.
“When the time came, it was the perfect opportunity to [stick it to me] by not letting me make the World Cup squad. So, all the excuses were there to leave me out – because of what was happening at West Ham, and I had come back from injury so my weight wasn't up to scratch and all that.
"And that wasn't even the excuse they gave the nation. The excuse they used was that I brought girls to the hotel – are they f****** out of their minds or what?"