Khune wants Bafana talent to shine
Posted: 5 October 2017 Time: 08:00
Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune is inspired by the 'Class of 1998' in his bid to help the team qualify for the World Cup.
Frenchman Philippe Troussier coached Bafana when they made their debut at the global showpiece 19 years ago, with Cape Town City mentor Benni McCarthy scoring the country's first goal at the event in a 1-1 draw with Denmark in Toulouse.
Bafana later competed at the 2002 and 2010 World Cups, gaining automatic entry to the latter as hosts.
However, Stuart Baxter's men are up against it to earn a spot at Russia 2018. They are bottom of Group D with a point from three games - five points behind pace-setting duo Burkina Faso and Cape Verde, who have played an extra match.
Senegal are also in a strong position with five points and emboldened by FIFA's decision to chalk off their earlier defeat to South Africa due to 'match manipulation' by referee Joseph Lamptey, who has since been hit with a lifetime ban.
Khune feels it is long overdue for Bafana to deliver on their talent.
Baxter's men host the Burkinabe at FNB Stadium on Saturday (15h00) before concluding their qualifying campaign with back-to-back matches with Senegal.
Khune said: "It's important for all of us as a team. We know the importance of qualifying for the World Cup. We haven't qualified since the Class of '98 [sic].
"With the crop of players we have now, we are very talented but we don't realise it. We always want to be reminded. So it's about time we all realise how talented we are and we need to move the country forward."
While there has been talk of a psychologist being drafted into the Bafana camp, Khune said the players were yet to see one.
"For us as players, we haven't met them, I don't know about the technical team," said the Kaizer Chiefs keeper, who will captain the nation on the weekend provided he shakes off a shoulder complaint.
Regular skipper Thulani Hlatshwayo has been ruled out of the contest at Soccer City with a knee injury.