In this week's DoRego's blog, we feature Bloemfontein Celtic’s Thabo Nthethe. The captain shares his thoughts on Sunday’s fixture against Kaizer Chiefs.
The guys showed the desire to win in the 2-0 win over Central African Republic and that we want to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil. But as a team we got the motivation from the coach during the week when we were doing the preparations. So I think the guys were ready and, for me, I just wanted to get the chance to play and perform well. That’s what I did. After the game we were having a team talk inside the dressing room and the coach told the guys to clap hands for me because of my performance. Hearing that from the coach made me really happy. The guys made sure that I settled in nicely. The guys who have been in the Bafana set-up for a bit longer always make sure that anyone who’s new in camp isn’t scared or unsettled. I got that confidence from them actually and I was happy for myself and the team.
During the Afcon, I just told myself that if I get the chance I’ll do my best for Bafana Bafana, but I knew that I was competing with good players like Siyabonga Sangweni and Bongani Khumalo and that it wouldn’t be easy to get a chance. I was just being patient, I stayed there on the bench with the confidence that if I get a chance I have to do well. Staying positive all the time helped me as well. You don’t need to be negative when you’re not playing because you can get the chance anytime. So to have that experience of being with top players in the Afcon was fantastic. Travelling with them, talking football...I learnt a lot and it helped me as a person as well. Of course there’s a difference between club and international football. The treatment that you get is marvellous. In my team I’m not getting that treatment that we’re getting in the national team where you feel that you are a professional footballer. You feel that you want to be in that environment forever! Everything that we do, the training sessions, the fun...it’s nice!
Ja, ja, ja, on Sunday it’s going to be war against Kaizer Chiefs on Sunday! Even on Monday after training I was speaking to my teammates and telling them that it’s been a while since we beat Chiefs and now it’s our chance, especially now that they are coming to our home ground. With the way we’ve been playing, we’ve shown that we can beat anyone in this league. With the quality, young and exciting players that we have, I think we can do it. But it won’t be easy when you look at the way Chiefs are playing. We just need to outclass them in every department – aerial balls, attacking, defending, etc. We have to make sure that we battle them so that we can win the game. I know we are playing them again in the Nedbank Cup, but we aren’t feeling any pressure because both games are at home. We feel more comfortable with that. It’s going to be tough, but we know that we’re going to have people who’ll be there cheering us on. It’s going to be difficult, but playing against a big team like Chiefs we just need to stamp our authority and let them know that they are also playing against a big team. We have to give everything we’ve got in every department!
Chiefs’ strikers are on form, but I’m not having any sleepless nights or bad dreams about them. I just need to get it in my head that I’m playing against good players and to be good, you have to play against the best. We have to make sure that we do well as a team so that we can have a chance to end the season in a respectable position. That’s our mission and we want to win every game that we play. There are different teams that we are playing against so we have to apply ourselves differently.
Let me tell you that, as a captain, you have to be there for the players and I thought it was going to be difficult to lead the team, but since I became the captain, the guys are making my job easier by doing simple things, following the coach’s instructions and listening to each other. The youngsters that we have aren’t youngsters who are ‘busy’ in their private lives. They are more focused on achieving. That’s the main thing. As a team we want to achieve. They came in and showed the desire to fight for the team. If they continue that way, they’ll go far. My wish for now is for the team to make sure that we don’t lose players every season. It’s fine to lose one or two, but not like the last time when we lost 12 players and had to restart. It’s difficult for other players to gel in the team and understand how we play. I would like to see us playing with the same squad for three seasons and in that way we’ll achieve more. For me personally the role I was told to play was to lead the team to the league title.
A message to the supporters? Without their support we can’t achieve. We just need that extra energy to make sure the team is moving forward and we will make sure they always go home with a big smile on their faces. We’re just asking them to come to the stadium as always and sing from the beginning until the end. That’s what we want. It motivates us!
Bloemfontein Celtic captain