Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune bemoans Bafana World Cup qualifying losses to Cape Verde
Posted: 22 September 2017 Time: 14:30
Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune says it was difficult for him to watch Bafana Bafana lose to Cape Verde while he was sidelined through illness.
The Glamour Boys captain was forced to sit out for three weeks while nursing a chest infection, and has since marked his return with stellar performances for his club.
During his spell out, Khune also missed two crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, both of which Bafana Bafana lost to Cape Verde earlier this month, placing their hopes of going to Russia in serious doubt.
The 30-year-old gloveman, who has been a stalwart for the national team in recent years, has revealed his reaction while watching on in disappointment as Stuart Baxter’s side let things slip from their grasp.
“[Watching games from the sidelines] is very frustrating. I did a crazy thing after we [Bafana] lost our first match away against Cape Verde,” said Khune.
“The doctor booked me off for two weeks, but I called our team’s doctor and the Bafana doctor to ask if I can train for two days and join Bafana in Durban, so I could play the second match because I felt we were in a good position.
“As I predicted – that Burkina Faso and Senegal would play two draws – with my family, we just had to beat Cape Verde twice to get to 10 points [in Group D].
“After that we would be able to fight for either a draw or win in the remaining two games, but when we dropped those three points I was like, ‘Our dream of going to play in Russia is gone’.
“So it was very frustrating for me, and I just couldn’t take it.”
Khune feels his return always comes with more pressure if his deputies haven’t done well, but insists he relishes the challenge of steadying the ship.
“Even against SuperSport when we lost [2-1], my heart was sore, I cried that we lost the match. It’s not nice when I’m not playing and other goalkeepers are playing, and we lose a match,” he added.
“Because the fans then start comparing and putting a whole lot of pressure on me to come back and deliver, more than expected.
“But I think I’ve always been up to that challenge, and whenever I’ve been asked to perform I do it twice as much.”