Our Knockout Success: DoRego’s Revolving Blog
07 December 2012
This week’s DoRego’s revolving blog features Thabo Nthethe of Bloemfontein Celtic.
Everyone is happy after winning the Telkom Knockout Cup. It boosted our confidence going forward because we want to achieve more. The coach (Clinton Larsen) was delighted, but he told us that the most important thing is that we don’t lose focus as we still have games ahead of us. So we just need to focus and make sure that we do well in the league as well, because we want to finish in a respectable position come the end of season.
Ja, you know, I heard a lot of talk before the game against Mamelodi Sundowns and people didn’t give us a chance of winning the trophy. We just told ourselves that we need to do our best and everything will fall into place. That’s what we did and we took the cup home! Before the game I spoke to some of the younger players in our camp, as it was the first time they were playing in such a big game. I had to make sure that they stayed focused and they didn’t change the way they are playing because the coach also told us not to change the way we’ve been playing. In every game we play, we want to win, so I told the likes of Lerato Manzini and Vuyani Ntanga not to be scared to take players on if they got a chance to play.
With regards to that goal...it’s football! I don’t think it’s the first time something similar to that happened and, as footballers, we just need to respect the referee’s decision. As a team, what we wanted was to get a goal. It came and we can’t say, ‘No, it wasn’t a goal.’
Actually, when we go into a game, we want to keep a clean sheet. In cup games, if you keep a clean sheet, there’s no way you’re going to lose. In the first game against Chippa United, we conceded a goal through a mistake at the back, but we managed to come back and win 2-1. The next game was against Orlando Pirates at home and we told ourselves there was no way we were going to concede defeat, even though Pirates were the defending champions. We just needed to make sure we kept our promise, as we had promised our supporters that this season we would give them a major trophy. The coach also told us we just needed to believe in ourselves and that we can win the cup. Pirates scored first, but we never gave up. We equalised and, as we were trying to get into the lead, they scored the second one. When they were 3-1 up, that’s when we had to believe that this game isn’t finished, although we knew it was going to be tough to score two goals to equalise. The guys showed character and desire to fight for the team and we managed to win in the penalty shootout. I can actually say that was one helluva tough game! But we showed our intention that we want to win this tournament.
Coming to the Free State Stars game... it was a derby and we believed in ourselves. We told ourselves not to concede because when we concede, we struggle to come back. We’re making things difficult for ourselves.
The boss told us that we were going to get half of the prize money. We knew that if we won the game, the incentives would be sorted out. Actually, that’s what you need in football as well (to be incentivised for doing well).
I’ve seen teams winning cups and then going to sleep and not doing well in the league after that. The coach makes sure that we stay focused all the time. We didn’t even party on Saturday because he told us that in three days’ time we’ll be playing, so we had to relax. Like I said, we want to finish in a respectable position at the end of the season, so we’ll do our best to win every game, although we know it’s going to be tough. We have to convert our chances because we haven’t done that well so far, especially in away games.
The coach, Clinton Larsen, always motivates us and makes sure that we believe in our talent. Coach Clinton is not only a coach but a father figure to us and is always advising us about other things in life, like how to behave off the field as a professional player. He was a player before, he knows about things that build or break a player. He always wants to know what’s happening in our lives and is open to everyone.
I know it’s going to be difficult to break into the Bafana Bafana squad for the Afcon, but I told myself if I get chances like I got when we played against Kenya, I will do my best. In that game I made sure to play my heart out and use that chance as if it won’t come again. After the game against Zambia, Gordon Igesund came up to me and told me that he was happy with my performance. You know, to hear from him...it was a good feeling and it shows that there is something good that I’m doing. I just hope and pray that I’ve done my best to be in the final squad, although I still need to do more.
Our fans have been supporting us since Celtic was formed, cheering us on and giving us extra energy on the field. We plead with them to keep on supporting us and we’ll keep our promise. We promised at the beginning of the season that we’d give them silverware and that’s what happened. But we are looking forward to doing more because I think they deserve more. We’ll do our best in every game we play and we appreciate their support!