Chit chat: Teko Modise, Simphiwe Tshabalala and Itumeleng Khune

2010-06-12 11:59

After four years of anticipation, the ­Soccer World Cup finally kicked off on Friday when Bafana Bafana opened the ­tournament with a spectacular game against Mexico.

Recently, sportswear brand Nike launched the Bleed Your Colours ­campaign at Gallery on 4th in Melville to encourage football fans to integrate ­fashion and soccer.

Bafana midfielders Teko Modise, Siphiwe Tshabalala and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune – who all seem like they’re the face of everything these days – were the ­front men for this campaign. The guys teamed up to talk about their World Cup hopes and dreams, and the highs and lows of being a football player.

Before the World Cup: I was very nervous, but I believe it’s only natural. However, we’re very confident about
our game. – Siphiwe Tshabalala

If it wasn’t for the Confederations Cup:
I would also be nervous. But now that I’ve played against some of the best teams in the world and experienced how they play, I’m not fazed any more. Now I know what we’re up against and it’s not that big a deal. – Itumeleng Khune

People keep asking: If we feel nervous or scared of the other teams. I believe that they should be scared of us because we want that World Cup trophy the most. – Teko Modise

is a natural part of the game. We expect that. It only becomes ­frustrating when we keep playing our best and people still don’t believe in us. It really used to hurt the team when our fellow South Africans criticised us. However, we are experiencing the amazing ­feelings that come with support. It really boosts our confidence. We hope this continues long after the ­tournament has ended. – Modise

The most pressure we’re feeling is ­related to the French team. They’re great, but at the end of the day we might just prove to be the better team. – Khune

My wish for the tournament:
is that we play well as individuals and as a team. We really want to make the nation proud and we believe we can do it. – Tshabalala

I promise
: to do my best. I have many people who believe in me and the boys, and I really wouldn’t like to let them down. It’s that kind of support that I ­appreciate the most, and I hope to live up to expectations. – Tshabalala

Groupies: will always be there. It takes a strong person to resist temptation. You also have to love the person
you are with and, thankfully, I love my wife enough to not fall for the groupies’ attention. It’s nice to be recognised for your hard work. We’re constantly followed wherever we go, but it is nothing to be alarmed about. They are fans and they deserve to be treated with respect. – Modise

Free World Cup tickets
: can’t be found on players, despite what people believe. We are given a specific number of tickets for our family, but other than that I don’t have a stash of World Cup tickets lying around to give to extended family and friends. Sorry. – Modise

Being known as a sex symbo: is not exactly something I think about. I mean, sure, it can give you a bit of an ego boost, but I don’t walk around saying to myself ‘I am a sex symbol’. – Khune

When I’m in camp:
I miss my family and junk food the most. We’re on a very strict diet, which doesn’t leave room for some shisa nyama. – Modise
I miss just chilling at home with my friends. I’m not one for going out to clubs and parties. I’d rather be at home by myself or chilling with family and friends. – Tshabalala

What we need most to succeed:is support. We need as many South ­Africans in the stadiums as possible. We want them in their yellow-and-green soccer jerseys. We want them ­rooting for us with their vuvuzelas. The fans are Bafana’s biggest weapon and we’re happy to see that we already have that. It’s truly amazing. – Modise 

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