Bafana Bafana

Rantie ready to take penalties

2015-01-21 18:37
Tokelo Rantie (Gallo Images)

Mongomo - Bafana Bafana striker Tokelo Rantie says he will volunteer to take penalties despite his crucial spot-kick miss in an African Cup of Nations defeat by Algeria.

The striker from English second-tier league leaders Bournemouth watched the kick fly over off the crossbar early in the second half of a Group C clash with his team one goal ahead.

It proved a costly miss as top-ranked African side Algeria stormed back to triumph 3-1 in the opening round of group-of-death showdowns this week.

On Friday South Africa tackle Senegal, who share top place with Algeria after a 2-1 win over Ghana, and another loss could wreck hopes of a top-two finish and a quarter-finals place.

Rantie told reporters in eastern Equatorial Guinea town Mongomo that if he plays and Senegal concede a penalty, he is ready to take it.

Asked if he was up to the task of another spot-kick after his miss against Algeria triggered an avalanche of social media criticism, Rantie replied: "Most definitely.

"That is how confident I am. I have learnt from my mistake," stressed the four-goal leading South African scorer in the 2015 qualifiers.

"While accepting criticism, dwelling on it will destroy me and my career. My sole focus now is on defeating Senegal.

"It is sad that some supporters highlight mistakes footballers make and ignore the good things we do -- like me scoring twice in a qualifier against Nigeria."

Many South Africans were surprised that the 24-year-old took the penalty as team-mates Andile Jali and Oupa Manyisa were ahead of him in the pecking order when all three played for Orlando Pirates.

Rantie recalled: "I just went for the ball as I felt very confident and did not think I could miss. Nobody deliberately misses a penalty."

Another South African under fire is goalkeeper Darren Keet, who allowed an Islam Slimani shot slip under his body for the victory-clinching third Algerian goal.

Belgium-based Keet became first choice last November after goalkeeper and captain Senzo Meyiwa was shot dead during a house robbery near Johannesburg.

"Thanks to all those who support me. You keep me strong," the 25-year-old tweeted.

"To all those who criticise, I thank you more. You make me even stronger."

Hosts South Africa won the 1996 Cup of Nations and came second and third in the following two tournaments.

But Bafana Bafana (The Boys) have been in steady decline since, failing to reach the knockout stages in three of their previous four appearances.


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