JOHANNESBURG – Morgan Gould – with his towering figure, a winner’s medal from every domestic competition on offer and a wealth of experience enjoys being looked down by giants from the continent, whether it’s with SuperSport United or Bafana Bafana.
The 34-year-old defender has endured a lot of triumphs and adversities in his career for club and country.
Success has made him a household name while adversities have helped him grow as a person. Adversity seems to bring out the best of South African clubs.
Gould was part of the Bafana team that thrashed Burkina Faso 3-1 at FNB Stadium to give their lifeless World Cup qualification ambitions a much-needed kiss of life.
After that triumph with the national team, Gould went with Matsatsantsa a Pitori to win by the same scoreline against Club Africain at a packed Stade Olympique de Rades, that saw the Tshwane side reach the final of the Caf Confederation Cup where they will face a giant in TP Mazembe.
Mamelodi Sundowns adopted the same mindset in their Caf Champions League triumph last year.
“It’s like you are fighting a giant, David versus Goliath,” Gould said. “Your back is always against the wall (against such an opponent). The only way for you to succeed is to go forward and fend for yourself.
“It’s a mentality that we need to work on and make it our weapon. We don’t want to always go there (as the underdogs).
“People tend to doubt you when you are in that situation. Getting it right though and knowing that that’s our strength, will work for us.
“People need to understand that the fans might speak big about their country, but on the field, we are exactly the same.”
Gould continued: “We actually feel that we are better on the field than off the field because we’ve got the work ethic and mentality.
“It just goes to show that we have everything, we just need the backing of our people because that’s how positive those people were in Tunisia. To be honest with you, there are so many better teams that we knocked out in the competition.
“But because they had that belief and the backing of their fans, they made things tough for us.”
Gould has called on Bafana fans to passionately back the team against Senegal in a must-win match at Peter Mokaba Stadium on November 10, before facing the Lions of Teranga in Dakar four days later.
The equation is simple for Bafana – win both matches to book a ticket to Russia.
Stuart Baxter roped in the experienced Siphiwe Tshabalala, who hasn’t been called up to the national team in two years with his 90 caps.
“It’s great to have Shabba back, with his experience,” Gould said. ”He must know (though) that he isn’t just going to come there and play.
“There are youngsters who have been doing well in their respective clubs. But he brings experience and the know-how.
“It’s different when a coach relates with a youngster. But when a coach relates with a senior player and a youngster can relate to that senior player, it makes things easier for the coach to get the best out of all of them.
“I’ve seen it in the national team camp, guys relate easier with me as we are in the same situation.
“The coach can relate to me because I am the old guy. He tells me to break things down to the younger guys, or the guys who don’t know what he wants. From that point of view, it’s great having Shabba.”