JOHANNESBURG - Dean Furman is not bothered by the backlash that constantly surround his Bafana Bafana call-ups.
The SuperSport United captain is among a handful of senior Bafana players who were named in the 25-man squad that will do battle in a Four-Nation tournament to be played in Zambia next week, also featuring Angola and Zimbabwe.
The criticism that surrounded this recent call-up was that Hlompho Kekana and Tiyani Mabunda have done more in the domestic league, while previously the argument insisted he doesn’t deserve to play ahead of Andile Jali or Kamohelo Mokotjo.
“Everyone’s got their own opinion,” Furman said at Megawatt Park on Wednesday morning before Matsatsantsa a Pitori started their training session. “I am now chasing 45 caps across three different coaches (Gordon Igesund, Shakes Mashaba and Stuart Baxter) who have selected me, so I must be doing something right.
"I am obviously not the most eye-catching player. I don’t have the skills. I don’t have the shibobos. I don’t have what many people believe is what they want from a player in this country. But what I do offer is consistency, hard work and graft.
"I wear my heart on my sleeve and I give absolutely everything, whether it’s at SuperSport or for my country. There have always been people who have questioned me. That’s fine. It’s up to me to prove them wrong.”
Despite his talent being in doubt, Furman has been a positive character in the national team.
“To be honest, I don’t focus on the backlash,” Furman said. “What’s important for me is that the people around me and the coach have trust in me. Ultimately, the coach selects the team based on the players who he thinks can go and do the job for him, players he trusts and players he has confidence in. If I am one of them than I am honoured ...
"Everyone wants to be a manager and everyone has their own views. They are entitled to it. I just have to remain strong, committed to what I do and not try to change my game to impress people who don’t feel that I am worthy. That’s the challenge I have whenever I come to Bafana. I have to consistently answer questions and I think I have managed to do that.”
Furman’s immediate focus isn’t on Bafana but on helping SuperSport get past Petro de Luanda on Friday at Lucas Moripe Stadium in the second leg of the Caf Confederation Cup’s first round.
Matsatsantsa played to a goalless draw in the first round in Angola. A good run in this competition and finishing in the top eight in the league would end what has been a dramatic season. It could even help Kaitano Tembo get the head coaching job on a permanent basis after Eric Tinkler resigned, as he felt that he had lost the changeroom less than a year into his tenure.
“It’s never nice to see a coach lose their job, regardless of what went on behind the scenes,” Furman said. “A man has lost his job and we are very sorry for that. We are lucky that Kaitano has remained a constant figure in all the transitions that we have had.
"He is a calming influence, who has helped us settle down and enjoy training. He’s brought it back to basics and the boys are working with a smile on their faces and they are training hard.”