Zuma: It's time for heroes
Posted: 10 November 2017 Time: 16:45
Itumeleng Khune may look like he belongs in a Marvel comic when he wears a protective facemark tonight, so it's perhaps fitting that Sibusiso Zuma has called for heroes to emerge against Senegal.
Khune has been cleared to start in goal this evening at Peter Mokaba Stadium despite suffering a facial fracture in Kaizer Chiefs' Telkom Knockout win over Chippa United last Sunday.
Stuart Baxter's men need to beat the Group D leaders in Polokwane and in Dakar on Tuesday to book their spot at next year's World Cup in Russia.
"I think it is time new heroes are born because everyone is fixated to see what is going to happen and some of the guys need to raise their hands to be counted," Zuma, who accumulated 67 caps and scored 13 times, tells KickOff.com.
"These players may not know but we need them really bad to perform. I think they also understand, so I'm sure and hopeful it'll be a different Bafana Bafana in these two games."
Meanwhile, Zuma was reluctant to pass judgement on Thulani Serero for turning down another national team call-up. According to Baxter, the Holland-based midfielder said he would only fly to South Africa for the game if he was guaranteed game-time.
Serero has a history of run-ins with Bafana coaches. The former Ajax Amsterdam playmaker was ejected from the Bafana camp on the eve of a 2013 World Cup qualifier with Botswana by Gordon Igesund. He also failed to pitch for a pre-AFCON camp in December 2014 when Igesund's successor Ephraim Mashaba was at the helm.
"You never know because there are too many stories that we hear. So we are all in the dark about what the problem is," says Zuma.
"I don't think there's any player who can say no to the country of his birth. I do think that he has the love for the country just like I did, so there must be a problem somewhere.
"What I used to do when I'm called up, I knew I was not always going to play every time for Bafana. So what I did was play as many games as I could. During my day, I was going to come even if we are playing Botswana, no disrespect to them.
"Having said that, I don't want to meddle in such talk about him while I don't know what is the problem, because I spend most of the time with these guys and these are my boys."