Gun-toting gang robs Hibs coach

The robbery shocked Benni McCarthy. Picture: SNS
The robbery shocked Benni McCarthy. Picture: SNS
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a FORMER international footballer who is working as a volunteer coach at Hibs has been robbed at gunpoint while having his hair cut in South Africa.

Ex-South Africa striker Benni McCarthy’s manager Percy Adams said his client had been targeted by three armed men who followed him into the barbers in an upmarket area of Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The thieves pointed a gun at his face before snatching the star’s watch, earrings and wedding ring and making off in a black BMW.

Despite nine other people being in the shop – which is on Corlett Drive in Melrose – McCarthy was the only one targeted by the thugs.

Police in the city are understood to be studying CCTV footage of the robbery in an attempt to trace the culprits.

Manager Percy Adams told South African website Eyewitness News: “The one guy closed the door and told every­one to sit down and be calm, the other said ‘please give us your watch, earrings and that nice wedding ring’. He was pointing the gun in his face the whole time and he kept telling him to hurry up.”

Adams said McCarthy, who was visiting Johannesburg to feature as an analyst on TV channel SuperSport, was “fine” following the dramatic incident, and no-one else is believed to have been hurt.

McCarthy, 37, who won the 2004 Champions League with Porto, is South Africa’s record goalscorer and played in Spain and Portugal as well as England.

He joined Hibs last month and is now coaching on a part-time voluntary basis at the club’s East Mains training centre as he aims to take his first steps into management.

In an interview with the Evening News yesterday, the 37-year-old insisted he saw striking similarities between Hibs’ rookie manager Alan Stubbs and a young Jose Mourinho, who McCarthy encountered when he played for Porto.

He said: “At a football club the manager is the manager and the players are the players, but Jose would come in, sit me down and ask me how I was, how was the family. That was a bit weird in the football world because usually managers don’t want to know your personal life.

“He was there when you needed somebody to put a hand on your shoulder and he would do that all the time. That way you go the extra mile for him.

“Alan has an amazing relationship with his players. I see a lot of similarities. Even the way he speaks with the players. There’s a respect, he’s the manager and they are the players – but there is also that friendship.

“You know he’s a go-to guy if you have a problem. I have never seen any of the players shy away from him. They will go to him when their paths cross in the corridor and can say ‘gaffer this is wrong, that’s wrong’.”

McCarthy moved to Edinburgh a year ago with his wife Stacey, who is from the Capital, and has previously spoken of his love for the city.

“It’s nice, clean and friendly,” he said. “It’s just the weather I’m having to deal with, but other than that, everyt­hing about Edinburgh is nice, very beautiful.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com