Tokelo Rantie is hoping for a better season in Turkey after admitting he struggled at Genclerbirligi in the last campaign.
Rantie proved his worth again in a national team jersey when he netted Bafana Bafana’s opener in the 2-0 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier away in Nigeria in June‚ and coach Stuart Baxter will now hope that regular game-time for his club will be a boost ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifiers coming up later in the year.
Rantie made just 12 starts for Genclerbirligi in the last campaign‚ to go with 11 substitute appearances‚ scoring six goals in the process.
But he says his teething problems at the club are now a thing of the past and he is raring to go in the new campaign.
“Last season I really struggled with the language‚ it was really challenging‚” Rantie told his club’s website.
“But I think I am over it‚ now I understand better the coach’s plans and his expectations of me‚ which makes my job easier.”
Genclerbirligi have dedicated the 2017/18 season to their charismatic former president of 40 years‚ İlhan Cavcav‚ the man who hired Stuart Baxter after he left Kaizer Chiefs and then fired him after two games.
Cavcav passed away in January aged 81.
“We want to be able to look back in years to come and say‚ ‘we were able to do something special in his historic season that has been dedicated to Ilhan Cavcav’.
“It is a matter of pride for us and we all want to leave our mark on this season‚ every player feels this way.
“The key is to start the season well. We have no injuries apart from a few bumps.”
Genclerbirligi open their Super Lig campaign at home to Karabükspor on Saturday.
The side finished eighth in the 18-team league in 2016/17.