Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune has responded to the mixed reactions to his Bafana Bafana call-up, particularly those who believe he is finished.
Despite his reputation and achievements for club and country for many years, Khune has been the subject of much criticism lately, withe his own supporters at Amakhosi turning their backs on him.
The 33-year-old has been facing challenges for game-time in the past 18 months or so following a long-term injury, which has contributed to a drop in form.
Speaking with the media at the national team camp in Durban, Khune said the critics bring the best out of him and vowed to work hard to regain his form both at club and international level.
"To be quite honest, critics are always there and will always be there. The good thing is that's what brings the best out of any player," Khune said.
"Yes, I've been around in the national team for a while and the strong mentality has kept me going since day one. I mean I always turn negativity into positivity and that's what has kept me going.
"I will keep on working hard at club level to gain my confidence back because I was out for nine months and I can't be hard on myself."
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Khune thanked the medical team for making sure he returned after missing the majority of the last two seasons, which has cost him his number one spot at Bafana Bafana and in Naturena.
"Thanks to the medical team for making sure I bounced back and I was disciplined enough to make sure I get back on my feet and compete," he added.
"Coaches are different and prefer different types of players so they prefer other goalkeepers than me, but as a professional you have to support them."
With his experience and strong reputation, the shot-stopper understands his role for both Chiefs and South Africa and believes he has a huge role to play to inspire the new blood.
"I think the guys know what I've achieved in my career, I don't need to remind them of that, they draw inspiration from that," he said.
"So I don't have to get to camp and start being big-headed looking down on my colleagues. I mean the presence should speak. I'm not an arrogant player, I'm humble and have always been humble.
"It's all about teamwork, not individuals, and I'm happy to be in the team. It's good to see young players in the team and having players like us who have been here for more than decades, surely it motivates them."
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