Friday, 3 January 2014

Bringing Tokelo in from the cold

You could not help but see Tokelo Rantie looking a bit forlorn at the Amex this week. He has not quite had the start that he and AFCB fans would have liked to his Cherries career, but it seems that he has some problems of his own that are preventing him from fulfilling his full potential on the pitch. An article in The Independent points towards his homesickness and his worry for his ill mother who is living in South Africa. Away from his family and with only Skype to keep in touch it can't be much fun for him, while on the pitch he was been left out of the squad for the Ipswich match and did not get any minutes against Brighton.
Tokelo at the Brighton game.
I am hoping that someone at the club is putting a warm arm around Tokelo and bringing him in from the cold. January is a pretty bleak month for all of us and Tokelo is one who will only be able to play well if he is feeling good inside and focused on the matters at hand, rather than events several thousand miles away. Tokelo has said himself that many of AFCB's players have been making efforts to involve him in activities and invite him around to their homes as he tries to get used to being in Bournemouth.

I know many will say Tokelo is well played and simply needs to get on with things, and that he has a great opportunity which many young aspiring football would be thrilled to have. But it's never that simple, even when you know you have a great opportunity. Eddie Howe was adamant at first that he would play Tokelo no matter what. In recent weeks his stance has softened a little and I wondered what the plan was with Tokelo as the goal against Burnley should have been the launch pad to him feeling better about things. Instead, we find Tokelo getting very little time on the pitch.

The FA Cup could be a chance to kick start Tokelo's performances at AFCB.
I wonder if Rantie may feel it a special privilege to play on the FA Cup. Did he watch the games in the competition when he was a boy in South Africa? I would expect so. While a third round tie may not be glamorous to all fans, for Tokelo it could be the game he so badly needs and I for one hope he is picked and has a cracker of a game.
We will talk to a Burton Albion fan next to get his views ahead of the FA Cup third round tie on Saturday. Make sure to visit Cherry Chimes at lunch time.

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