Tokelo Rantie is something of an enigma for South African football, a player with all the attributes to be a top-class striker but who at times lets himself down with his lack of application.
We saw both the best and the worst of him in Bafana Bafana’s opening African Nations Cup Group C 3-1 defeat against Algeria on Monday.
His electric pace ndash he is arguably the quickest player at these championships ndash was a worry for the north Africans all night, while his role in the build-up to South Africa’s goal was superb as he showed great awareness and vision to link up with Sibusiso Vilakazi.
And then there was the penalty miss that proved the pivotal moment in the game.
It is wrong to be too harsh on Rantie, he showed the willingness to take responsibility and take the kick. And players miss penalties, it happens every weekend in every league in the world.
But at this crucial point in the game, when they needed him to deliver the right sort of application, he could not.
He has grown something of a reputation as a player who gets himself into great positions, but is wasteful in front of goal. He is a player who will miss three easy chances in a game, but then conjure up a piece of magic nobody else could to score.
And that is why he should always be in Shakes Mashaba’s side in their crucial second pool match against Senegal on Friday, he brings so much to the team that you have to live with his failures.
And the player himself says he has moved on from the disappointment of missing that kick, saying he would step back up to the plate in the next game if the opportunity arose.
“Most definitely, I will do so. That is how confident I am having learnt from my mistake. I know at the moment there is a lot of criticism for the miss, but it comes with the territory and as players we have to learn to accept that.
“But if you dwell on that you will only be destroying yourself and your career. The most important thing as I said is to be focused on the next challenge and try to do the correct thing.
“It is sad that people tend to forget the good things we players do but dwell on one mistake. I was happy with the responsibility I had of taking the penalty, but, again, I am very disappointed with the miss.”
Rantie for one is also not about to throw in the towel on Bafana Bafana Nations Cup campaign, another of his great qualities is his hunger for the fight.
“I personally believe that we can get the remaining six points. If you look back at our match against Algeria you can see we created a lot of chances and I gly believe we can create those chances again against Senegal and Ghana,” he said. “And if we can continue with the same kind of performance we had against Algeria, I don’t think anything can stop us from competing against the others. I believe we are still in it.”
Source : allAfrica.com