JOHANNESBURG – Having been the victim of the “boo-boys” last season, Bernard Parker cut a diplomatic figure when he reacted to being the player with most votes in the starting line-ups for the Carling Black Label Cup.
While the old saying goes “goalkeepers mature like fine wine”, outfield players have endured the stigma of being deemed in the twilight of their careers when they surpass the age of 30, especially in the PSL.
Chiefs striker Parker, 32 at the time, found himself at the receiving end of negative criticism last season, many of the Amakhosi faithful saying his legs were done.
However, Parker took the criticism on the chin, and dragged his team to the Nedbank Cup final, despite finishing ninth in the Premiership standings. Aware of his work-rate, the Chiefs supporters publicly selected Die Hond (The Dog) to lead the team’s potent attack against old rivals Orlando Pirates in the Carling Cup at FNB Stadium tomorrow, having amassed more than 89 000 votes.
“There’ll always be criticism, but I have been in the game long enough to know that criticism is nothing personal,” said Parker. “It’s just a kick in the butt to say ‘hey, pull up your socks’. The supporters see that we put in the work, the passion is there.”