South Africa rally around players after Algeria horror show

Team mates have rallied around Rantie, Keet and Hlatshwayo

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South Africa have had to carry out a psychological patch-up job on their players after a missed penalty, an own goal and horror goalkeeping errors led them to losing their opening African Nations Cup match.

After taking a 1-0 lead against Algeria in Monday’s Group C match in Mongomo, South Africa let the game slip away thanks to a missed penalty by Tokelo Rantie and an own goal from Thulani Hlatshwayo. Algeria scored two more goals, including one that squeezed underneath diving goalkeeper Darren Keet’s body.

“I take full responsibility. 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,” said Rantie.

“I’m very disappointed that it did not go in but as we all know it can happen to anyone in the game. No person steps up to take the penalty to miss. I’m trying hard not to dwell on it because it will not help me move forward when I am given another chance to play.”

Team mates have rallied around Rantie, Keet and Hlatshwayo.

“They are good players and characters and we need them for the next game,” said Thuso Phala.

“Keet was blaming himself, feeling very sad. I had to encourage him. He didn’t have a bad game at all but when you concede a first goal to an own goal like that, it kills your confidence,” said room mate and fellow goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane.

South Africa need to win their next match against Senegal on Friday to stay in the competition.

Teenage defender Rivaldo Coetzee is ruled out after going off early in Monday’s 3-1 loss to Algeria but giant centre back Mulomowandau Mathoho and experienced midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane return from suspension.