Mphela still scarred by shame
Cape Town – Bafana Bafana will quickly have to put the disappointment of failing to qualify for next year’s African Cup of Nations when they take on Côte d’Ivoire in the Nelson Mandela Challenge this weekend.
More than a month has passed since Bafana Bafana’s humiliating draw to Sierre Leone, which saw them lose out on qualification for the tournament to be held in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, but the scars are still there for all to see.
Bafana Bafana striker Katlego Mphela reveals that it has not been easy to come to terms with seeing the progression of the tournament without any further involvement from their side.
“I’m okay now, but just the thought of it … when you see the television and the Afcon draw is showing, then there are times when you sit down and think about what happened,” Mphela said on Kickoff’s website.
“You think maybe we should have done things differently and all that. It’s not easy. We worked very hard for this, so to not qualify is hard to swallow.
‘Killer’ lamented that losing only a single match in the entire qualifying campaign and still failing to make the grade for the continental showpiece was especially hard to deal with.
“Remember, we only lost one match during our qualification and other teams in our group lost twice, so it is not easy to swallow.”
He now realises the importance and magnitude of Bafana’s failure and added that the events which unfolded at the Mbombela Stadium has given him a new perspective on the beautiful game.
“At first it [playing soccer] was about having fun. Then time goes on you realise it’s your work. So now when you lose, it is harder to lose, because this is your job.
“You never used to take it personally, but now you can get stressed before and after the games because your jobs are on the line if results don’t go well. But this is all just part of the game.”