JOHANNESBURG - Tokelo Rantie’s mentor, Farouk Khan, has insisted that the Bafana Bafana marksman is still keen on representing his country.
Earlier this month Rantie asked to be excused from national duty because he wanted to focus on his recovery from injury. Rantie has been struggling with his fitness which has led to a lack of game time for his Turkish club Genclerbirligi.
Khan, who groomed Rantie at the Stars of Africa Academy before he moved to Europe, said: “Rantie still has the desire to play for Bafana Bafana. He asked coach Stuart Baxter to excuse him for the previous two matches because he is still nursing an injury and that’s why he has been missing for his team. I think Safa need to work on their communication. It happened to Thulani Serero and with Rantie. They should handle these matters better.
“Rantie was very angry when the coach told him that he decided to leave him out because he had received a red card for his club. He felt it was unfair on him because other players got national call ups even though they had got red cards in their respective teams. Rantie felt they were not treated fairly but he is over that one.
"If the coach decides to call him again, he will avail himself. He still wants to represent his country and he knows what it is like to play for Bafana. He has scored three goals against Nigeria and that’s a clear indication that he always gives his all whenever he dons that Bafana jersey.”
Rantie (27) is currently the main man upfront for Bafana having taken over from the likes of Bernard Parker and Katlego Mphela. He has netted 12 goals in 40 appearances for Bafana.
Rantie is eighth on Bafana’s goal scoring chart. He is tied with Siphiwe Tshabalala and is just two goals away from surpassing Sibusiso Zuma who is on 13 goals.
Rantie has represented Bafana in two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments (in 2013 in South Africa and 2015 in Equatorial Guinea).
Bafana will play their next match in March against Libya in an Africa Nations Cup qualifier in Durban and it will be interesting to see if Rrantie makes the squad.