Khune’s homies heartbroken

2010-06-20 15:23

A sombre mood this week engulfed the small township of Tshing

outside Ventersdorp from where Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune


This was less than two days after Bafana’s annihilation by Uruguay,

which saw the local icon’s heroic ­status being wiped out by a red card in a

game South Africa lost 3-0.

Barring an odd tattered South African flag that flapped desolately

in the chilly wind at dusk on a winter’s day, there was nothing related to the

World Cup in sight.

Thami Magadlela of Extension 5 said township residents were

disappointed and heartbroken at their idol’s

sending off.

Khune’s family home is empty as his parents are following their

son’s play in Johannesburg. His neighbours in Extension 2 continued with their

daily routine, trying to forget about Wednesday night’s gloom that befell their

hero – and the country at large.

Football is so cruel that the 22-year-old lost his cult status in

four days, just after he was hailed “King Khune”.

Two brave saves – against Giovani dos Santos and Carlos Vela – by

the Kaizer Chiefs goalminder in the opening game against Mexico kept Bafana in

the game – and turned him into an instant hero.

Five days later, he turned villain after conceding a penalty

exacerbated by his marching orders from referee Massimo Busacca for a

professional foul on Uruguay striker Luis Suarez.

“The players came to me and said sorry, but I think I owe them an

apology as well as the rest of the South Africans. It was not deliberate and

there was nothing I could do, but I think I owe them an apology,” said Khune

minutes after Wednesday’s “disaster” at Loftus Stadium in Tshwane.

Worse still is that he will miss Bafana’s final group A match

against France on Tuesday as he is suspended for one match.

What a difference five days make.

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