Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune has likened himself to international football icons Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, for rather contrasting reasons it must be said.
Khune was a surprise inclusion in Molefi Ntseki’s latest Bafana Bafana squad and the Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper has responded to naysayers claiming he shouldn’t be involved in the national team setup.
Itumeleng Khune made his international debut all the way back in 2008 however fast forward 12 years later and many believe he is no longer fit to don the national team jersey due to ongoing injury problems as well as a sharp dip in form over the past two seasons.
Bafana Bafana draw inspiration from me – Khune
Khune is the highest capped active Bafana Bafana player with 91 caps while he’s second only to the now retired Aaron Mokoena who leads the all-time national team charts and the Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper believes his experience and personality lifts the entire team.
“The guys know exactly what I’ve achieved in my career and I don’t have to remind them of that. They draw inspiration from me, so I don’t have to get to camp and get bigheaded or start looking down on my teammates,” Khune said as quoted by IOL.
“The presence itself should say a lot. I am not an arrogant player. I am humble and have always been. We are here to work as a team and not individuals. There are younger players who get motivated from seeing a player like me who’s been part of the game for more than a decade.”
If Messi didn’t win anything for Argentina, why should I be hard on myself?
Khune likened himself to both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi ahead of South Africa’s back-to-back AFCON Qualifiers against Sao Tome and Principe.
“I know we haven’t won anything as Bafana since I started playing for the team but not to compare myself to Messi, but he has also won everything at club level but nothing with his National Team. So I can’t be hard on myself, its a team sport.” – Itumeleng Khune said.
“There is a lot that can still be achieved . If you can see how Cristiano Ronaldo is hungry in every game, you can achieve anything you want. That’s also my mentality to achieve what I can still achieve and even more. It will take a lot of hard work.”
Bafana Bafana face Sao Tome and Principe in an AFCON Qualifier on Friday night at the FNB Stadium at 21:00. This website will be providing live updates from the game.