Johannesburg - Tokelo Rantie says he “takes full responsibility” for missing Bafana Bafana’s crucial penalty against Algeria in their opening fixture of the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.
Leading 1-0, thanks to Thuso Phala’s neat finish after 51 minutes, Rantie could have given South Africa a two-goal advantage with 35 minutes left to play, but hit the crossbar from the penalty spot.
“When we were awarded the penalty I just went for the ball as I felt very confident and did not even think I could miss it,” Rantie said on Wednesday.
“No person steps up to take a penalty to miss. I was happy to take the responsibility but am very disappointed with the miss.”
Algeria came storming back, scoring three unanswered goals after Rantie’s penalty miss.
An own-goal from Thulani Hlatshwayo, Faouzi Ghoulam’s 72nd minute strike and Islam Slimani’s goal 10 minutes later put the result beyond doubt, handing Bafana a disappointing opening defeat which put them on the back foot from the outset.
Bafana will now have to win their next game against Senegal on Friday to stand any chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds.
Rantie admitted it would be difficult for him to move on from the incident, but thanked his teammates for their support throughout.
“They didn’t criticise me even though they were disappointed I didn't score.
“If I take all the negativity of missing the penalty into the next match I will be failing my teammates and the whole squad as I will not be able to perform to the best of my abilities.
“I know there is a lot of criticism for the miss, but it comes with the territory and, as players, we have to learn to accept that.”
Asked if he would step up in future to take another penalty, Rantie said: “Most definitely, I will do so. That is how confident I am having learnt from my mistake.”
Monday’s defeat left South Africa bottom of group C with zero points, behind Ghana who were ahead only on goal-difference.
Ghana suffered a late 1-0 defeat to Senegal earlier in the day.
Should South Africa and Ghana both lose their next match, both nations would be eliminated from the tournament before their last group game - against each other - kicks-off.