JOHANNESBURG - The experience Bernard Parker has gained in a 13-year professional career has taught him to be selfless, a skill he believes will help Kaizer Chiefs end their two-year barren run.
Among the reasons Amakhosi haven’t won a trophy under coach Steve Komphela is that the club’s strikers haven’t been ruthless enough, which is made worse by their defence losing concentration in key moments.
Chiefs have failed to reach 40 goals in the past two seasons in their league campaigns. The Soweto giant currently lack a dominant strikeforce that sends shivers down the spine of opposition defenders.
Parker and Venezuelan Gustavo Paez have shown glimpses of what they can do with their understanding and ability to feed off each other.
The pair will look to trouble SuperSport United on Tuesday night at FNB Stadium in Chiefs’ quest for their first Premiership win this campaign.
“I’ve matured a lot in my game in terms of seeing things,” Parker said. “I see a lot of things in the final third. If someone is in a better position, I pass to him to allow him to score. In the (Soweto) Derby (in the league) I created (Joseph) Molangoane’s goal.
"I played the ball to Paez who was in a better position in the Carling Black Label Cup. If I have the opportunity to take the chance, then I will. The weight is on us upfront to score and for Shabba (Siphiwe Tshabalala) to also score.
“We need to share the responsibility and lead by example in terms of being selfless by making sure the ball hits the back of the net and it doesn’t matter who scores. I and Paez, we do a lot. We keep defenders on the back foot. We just need the wingers to quickly join the attack because when Paez goes wide I enter the box and vice-versa.”
The pair did that in the win over Orlando Pirates in a pre-season friendly. Amakhosi didn’t have a traditional centre-forward in the match, but Parker and Paez swapped the role, keeping the Buccaneers’ defence busy as the two have different skill sets.
The 31-year-old Parker plays with more intelligence, creating space with his composure inside the box while Paez uses his explosive pace and intelligent runs to beat defenders.
While they are trying to master this art, SuperSport have perfected it with the deadliest attacking trio in the country, consisting of Thabo Mnyamane, Bradley Grobler and Jeremy Brockie.
“Our combination upfront is looking better,” Parker said. “We are gelling well together. If we can get Shabba back to his best, I think we would have more power. People say we need to be calm inside the box. But if you are calm they close you down.
"They say we need to be sharper. You do that, then you rush your decision. We need to find the right balance between being composed and sharp. That balance will come automatically if we are confident, believe in ourselves and the spirit is there. We are looking good.
"Maybe we need to bring 10 percent more in our compactness, add 10 percent to our discipline in defence, and be more ruthless in our attack. I have a belief that at this rate, things will go our way and we will turn things around.”