Durban – Bafana Bafana striker Tokelo Rantie has conceded feeling a weight of expectation on his shoulders as South Africa continues its search for a clinical finisher in attack.
The 22-year-old is among three strikers – the others are Kermit Erasmus and Bernard Parker – named in Gordon Igesund’s latest squad to face Botswana in a must-win World Cup qualifier in Durban on Saturday.
“Yes (we do feel the weight of expectation),” Rantie said on Wednesday. “I mean people expect us to score and only goals can win you the game.
“I believe we will do it. We have Kermit, we have Bernard and those guys they can score goals.”
The match will be South Africa’s 16th international of the year, and even though they have scored 19 goals in those games, an alarming statistic reveals that only three of those have come against opponents higher than them in the global Fifa rankings.
In matches against Norway, their only European opponents in 2013, Algeria, Cape Verde Islands, Zambia and Nigeria they have drawn blanks, with a 1-1 scoreline versus Mali and a 2-0 win over a depleted Burkina Faso the only positives.
Coach Igesund has already spoken this week about their conversion rate in front of goal and according to Rantie.
“I feel we have strikers in the team that can score goals and I think it will come.
“Sometimes things don’t actually go your way when you expect them to, but I think it will happen for us this weekend.”
Fortunately for the 67th ranked hosts, Botswana are not even inside the top 100 in the world, leaving Rantie confident of victory.
“I am confident we’ll be able to get maximum points from the game,” he said.
Bafana are currently lying second in Group A, two points behind leaders Ethiopia, but with a superior goal difference.
They must win the match and hope the East Africans either draw or lose against the Central African Republic in their game which kicks off simultaneously in Brazzaville, Congo on Saturday.
“I think we need to focus on our own game,” Rantie explained.
“We don’t need to worry much about what’s going on in the CAR-Ethiopia game.
“If we can focus on our winning our own game, hopefully the result in the other one will go for us.”
The former Orlando Pirates striker and Siyanda Xulu only reported to camp on Tuesday, along with five outstanding Buccaneers players that were away on Champions League duty in Egypt.
Rantie recently left Swedish side Malmo for England where he signed for Championship outfit Bournemouth for a reported club-record fee.
He admits the move was excellent for his career and hoped he could carry his club form forward to his country.
“It’s a great move for me and for my career,” he added.
“We all know what players can learn in England, it’s a great league.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to manage and do the same things I have been doing at Malmo at my club and with Bafana Bafana.” – Sapa