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Booing fans destroy us: Khutlang

Makoanyane XIMoorosi Tsiane

MASERU — National Under 20 soccer team Makoanyane XI striker, Tumelo Khutlang, has urged fans to stop booing players because that behaviour negatively affected the players’ performance.

Khutlang was one of the players who experienced the dreaded public contempt when he wasted a lot of goal scoring opportunities in the opening game of the Council of Southern African Football Association (Cosafa) Under 20 youth competition in their two-all draw against Comoros Islands at the Setsoto Stadium in Maseru a fortnight ago.

“We sometimes make mistakes as players but that kind of behaviour from the supporters adds more pressure to us and negatively affects our game,” Khutlang said.

He urged the fans to be more supportive rather than be negatively judgemental as that would not help boost the young players’ confidence, adding that “as human beings we can make mistakes from which we should be able to learn but we should not be booed”.

Chairman of the Cosafa organising committee, Timothy Shongwe, reiterated Khutkang’s view point saying that booing players, especially in a tournament of this magnitude, totally defeats the purpose for which it stands.

According to Shongwe the tournament is meant to create a platform for unleashing up-and-coming potential in the youngsters and enable them to showcase their skills for possible prospects of building a career out of the beautiful game.

“This kind of behaviour demoralises and destroys players’ confidence, since they become overly anxious of making mistakes thereby hindering their performance at their full potential,” Shongwe said.

The two-week youth competition which began a fortnight ago, saw a total of 14 nations including Lesotho compete in the elite sub-regional tournament which SA won by two goals to nil yesterday.

South Africa’s midfielder, Nhlakanipho Ntuli, also experienced booing by fans in their last match in group stages against Namibia that saw the two sides sharing spoils in goalless draw and again in their semi-final match with Zimbabwe which they won on penalties before proceeding to the finals.

Meanwhile, Makoanyane XI team manager, Caswell Moru, said booing of players was not very helpful in the development of players’ confidence especially seeing as they are young players who are only beginning to experience international tournaments.

He told the Sunday Express that some players give-in to the pressure and even make such drastic decisions as giving up on the sport due to frustration.

“Booing players even leads to destroying players’ careers especially the young players. They can fake injuries just because they are afraid to play due to this bad behaviour from the supporters,” Moru said.


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