Cape Town – In the wake of South Africa’s exit from the African Nations Championship (Chan) following a heavy 3-1 defeat to Nigeria on Sunday, Bernard Parker’s milestone of 23 goals grabbed little of the attention after the disappointing result.
Parker became South Africa’s joint-third all time goal-scorer with his tally of 23, level with newly-signed Kaizer Chiefs striker Katlego Mphela, who Parker will link up with later this season at Naturena.
The pair are still nine goals behind leading South African scorer Benni McCarthy who holds the record with 32 goals from 80 games and Shaun Bartlett with 28 in 74 appearances.
Parker scored his fourth goal of the tournament from a penalty kick 10 minutes from time, in his 67th game in national colours, ensuring he scored in all three games of the Chan tournament.
“Every time I get an opportunity to represent my country, I just give 100 percent, but hopefully whatever is next, I hope is for the better,” a clearly dejected Parker said after the game.
“I’m happy to have scored the goals, and I’m happy that I’ve been doing well for my national team.
“I just hope that I continue with my scoring form and we’ll just have to see what happens next.”
Despite South Africa’s early elimination from the event, Parker is the joint top-scorer for the tournament with his four, while Nigeria’s Christantus Ejike’s brace against South Africa takes him to the same number.
The veteran attacker admitted Bafana failed to deal with the physical dominance of the Nigerian side, who bossed the midfield and challenged South Africa for every ball, winning the majority of the collisions.
“The team spirit was high. In today’s game, we fought hard, we went into tackles, and into all the battles, but the Nigerian guys were just stronger than us.
“They won every duel, they won the second balls and every time when we tried to compete with them, we ended up making mistakes and then they capitalised on the mistakes.”
Parker and his Kaizer Chiefs teammates – Siphiwe Tshabalala, Tefu Mashamaite and Itumeleng Khune – will head straight back to Johannesburg on Monday as the Soweto giants prepare for their huge Premiership derby against Mamelodi Sundowns in Pretoria on Thursday.
Chiefs, who lead the league standings with 30 points from 14 games, have a five point advantage over second-placed Sundowns.– Sapa