Sports minister Fikile Mbalula called Bafana Bafana "a bunch of losers". Picture: Ziyaad Douglas/Gallo Images

Johannesburg - Lerato Chabangu believes that it is Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula who is the “loser”, following his attack on Bafana Bafana’s players after their early exit from the African Nations Championship (CHAN).

Chabangu was part of Gordon Igesund’s Bafana squad that were knocked out in the group stages, and said on Thursday that he was upset by Mbalula’s comments, where the Sports Minister branded Bafana’s players as “useless” and a “bunch of losers”, following defeat to Nigeria in their final group match.

“Obviously it is bad,” said Chabangu.

“You can’t call your sons a bunch of losers. It affects your family … he is a loser, he must call himself a bunch of losers.

“I was frustrated (by his comments), because we were disappointed coming from the tournament, and then another person comes and calls you such (names). How are you going to get respect on the street from your fans? But what can you say, life goes on, I am not dead, I am still alive.”

Chabangu also gave his backing to Igesund to continue as the head coach of the national team.

“If you chop and change it is going to cause lots of problems,” said the Moroka Swallows playmaker. “You can see his results, he has played so many games. I think we have played 29 games, lost eight and drawn seven and won the rest. So there is an improvement. Unfortunately we didn’t get the luck we expected (in CHAN). But I think he has brought (positive) changes in to the national side; you have to give him the chance … because if you give him short notice, it will kill the morale of the national team.”

The 28-year-old, meanwhile, will take to the field in the colours of Swallows this evening, as they host league leaders Kaizer Chiefs in Dobsonville.

“Obviously it is an important game,” said Chabangu, whose Birds are currently sixth in the table, 11 points behind Chiefs.

“And it is a difficult one … we are looking forward to playing. We are going to come with a plan and hopefully the plan will go on our side to get the three points.

Chiefs have quality players and have been getting the results, and will look to get another result because they also want the league. So we have to dig deep.”

The Star