Tim Spirit: Action’s the only way for players to answer bullying ‘boo boys’

2013-11-04 10:00

A s a player, you can never take on football fans.

It’s not a fight you’ll win, even if you are right.

What Kingston Nkhatha did last week after scoring the equaliser against Orlando Pirates could come back to haunt him.

Even though he was frustrated by the booing, he chose the wrong way to vent his feelings.

Nkhatha reacted angrily to Kaizer Chiefs supporters who had been calling for his withdrawal as early as the second minute of the game.

He celebrated his goal by gesturing to the fans to shut up, obviously overwhelmed by emotion.

But what he, and other players who might find themselves in the same situation, should know is that the only match a soccer player can never win is one against the fans.

Fans have been around before him and they’ll be there long after he has gone.

Nkhatha, please pick battles that you know you can win. Yours was a temporary victory that will fan the flames of a never-ending war. And with conflict comes casualties.

The only way to cover yourself in glory when booed is to score a goal. It’s a big enough statement, so why add gestures to your statement? It can only be fuel to the fire.

When a player retaliates, it only serves to fuel the anger and fans then react further.

Football supporters are fickle. One moment they will celebrate with you if you score, and the next they will be on your case again if you miss a ball.

That’s how they are. You can never satisfy them.

Players need to show emotional intelligence by not succumbing to the temptation to hit back at their supporters, because they need them on their side.

Silence is the best way to answer booing fans.

Also, a goal or a good performance speaks volumes – more than hand gestures that only serve to give the “boo boys” more ammunition.

They will want to get back at a player who does this, literally the next time he puts a foot wrong.

Players may feel hard done by as they go out to do their best, but they cannot allow their emotions to cloud their judgement.

No one goes out there to deliberately miss a goal, but now and then players have a bad day on the field.

Supporters’ rowdy behaviour cannot and should not be encouraged as they often pull down players with their thuggish actions.

Instead, they should be supportive when the chips are down – that’s when players need them most.

But the fact is they probably know what individual players are capable of and when they don’t see it, they feel justified in venting their frustrations.

As paying customers, supporters think they are always right, so all players can do is go back to the drawing board and come back as better players, ­rather than feeling ashamed.

Instead, these players need to adopt the adage: when life throws lemons at you, bring salt and tequila so you can enjoy your success.

I hope Nkhatha will come out of this episode a better person, knowing he has to change his attitude and winChiefs fans over.

His only response and means of silencing the boos should be his performances on the field.

He should ignore fans’ provocations as it will distract him causing him to take his eyes off the ball, and that will play into their hands.

I believe you cannot put a good man down and it is time for him to get his act together.

As for the supporters, shame on you! You are letting your players down.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.