The 27-year-old from Parys in the Free State has always been earmarked for stardom but life and football often conspire to throw some really mean curve balls. Tokelo Rantie’s move to Cape Town City is an opportunity for the striker to revitalise a career that had been on the brink of collapse.
Rantie admits there was even a time when he thought he would just give up the game, go back home to the Free State and work on his farm. But – and this is the charisma that makes Benni McCarthy such a unique individual – rather than throw in the towel, the striker decided that under the coaching of his former Orlando Pirates teammate, he could find a way back and rediscover his passion for the sport.I still have a lot of desire to play football,” said Rantie. “I feel like I am now at the right club. Benni played a big role in my life, hence my decision to join Cape Town City.
“I’ve learnt a lot from him. I once made him a promise that I will play for him one day when he becomes a coach, so I’ve kept my word on that.”Rantie came through the Stars of Africa Academy and initially played his football in Mozambique for Ferroviário de Beira and then CD Maxaquene. Later, he had a spell at Swedish Second Division side IFK Hässleholm.
But it was in 2011 that Rantie would meet up with McCarthy at Pirates, where the two attackers forged a deadly partnership, after which McCarthy retired and Rantie went on to play for Malmö FF (Sweden), Bournemouth (England) and Gençlerbirligi (Turkey).
But the curveballs would come. Rantie had a number of personal issues to deal with and his career stalled. Now, in coming to the Mother City, Rantie has the chance of a fresh start in new surroundings with coaches and players who admire and respect his ability.
“Everyone at the club has been so welcoming towards me,” he said. “It’s been easy to fit in so far. I feel like I wasted a lot of time going to Turkey and England, I could have gone to other countries – but for me, coming back home now is not a downgrade.”
McCarthy admitted Rantie still needed a lot of hard work to get back to peak fitness. The coaching staff would be working the striker very hard to knock him into shape. Ultimately though, there is only one thought in the City coach’s mind: He wants to get Rantie firing again and in the process, once the goals start coming, it will benefit Bafana Bafana as well.
Because of his inactivity, Rantie lost his place in the SA national side, but McCarthy is confident it won’t be too long before the player is back in the reckoning. Rantie scored on his Bafana debut in June 2012 in a friendly against Gabon and was a member of the country’s squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations held in South Africa.
Now, with Cameroon 2019 looming, there’s no doubt that when Rantie is fit and motivated and scoring consistently, he will be a major asset for Bafana. Rantie arrives at City at a really good time. On Saturday, the Cape side host Kaizer Chiefs in a much-anticipated PSL fixture at the Cape Town Stadium; after that there’s an away game against former club Pirates and on September 29 his new club line up in the MTN8 final against SuperSport United.
McCarthy will monitor Rantie’s progress at training this week, but there is every indication that the striker will play a part in the game against Chiefs; it’s just a case of whether the coach decides to play him from the start or off the bench. As for the MTN8 finale in two weeks’ time, Rantie said: “I haven’t thought about being in a cup final yet, but it’s great for the club.
“From what I’ve seen, I believe that this club will go on and win it. I’ll make every contribution I can to help the team achieve that.”
Source: IOL News