Bafana Bafana’s two-goal hero against Nigeria in 2014, Tokelo Rantie, has dared the Super Eagles to bring it on.
Bafana take on their nemesis Nigeria in the opening game of the 2019 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Saturday afternoon.
Rantie was in a bullish mood ahead of the encounter, saying they had nothing to fear.
“The time for us to fear Nigeria is long gone and I have an exciting feeling that we will do well. I have no stress and no fear at all because we have players to bring them down,” Rantie said.
The two countries have met 12 times. Nigeria won seven of those encounters, four ended in draws and Bafana won one friendly.
Rantie said it was good to be back in the team after missing a few games because of his stand-off with the South African Football Association. This was after his no-show in a World Cup qualifier against Burkina Faso last year. He is yet to be charged by Safa.
“For me it’s good to be here with the national team and it came at the right time when I am doing well at club level. Things happened but I’m here now and have been given a second chance.”
He believed the Bafana players were capable of writing their own history by becoming the first to beat Nigeria in an official game.
“We have a chance and we have all the tools to cause problems in the game. They are humans like us and we are not scared of them.”
I didn’t fail in England
The former Bournemouth striker believed he had proven his detractors wrong since his move to Turkey.
Rantie, who struggled to get game time in the English Premier League, has been a hit at Gençlerbirligi SK since he joined them last year. He has six goals in 24 matches.
The 26-year-old striker said he was enjoying his football again after enduring a tough time in England.
“I didn’t start well because I had to adjust to the league but fortunately my manager believed in me and gave me confidence. There has been progress in my game and I am happy.”
He said he did not fail in England because he was never given a chance to prove himself
“If I tell you what happened, you won’t believe it. When I moved from Malmo the coach came to watch me play and he was happy. I was 1.70m when he saw me playing and he liked me. But when I got to England my height became a problem hence he didn’t play me. I thought I deserved a chance and that’s the only reason I was not playing.”
He said when he moved to Turkey it was more about proving a point.
“I’m [not] saying I am the best but I am a hard worker. And my game has improved a lot and my game has evolved as I am more aware now than before.”