STRIKER Lebogang Mothiba has gone through a goal-drought spell that span six official games in a Bafana Bafana shirt, but the France-based marksman is not stressing about the elusive goal.
Interestingly, the 23-year-old last scored against Nigeria, the same opponents Bafana will face on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt.
However, since he netted the equaliser in Bafana’s 1-1 draw against The Super Eagles in November last year during the qualifiers, Mothiba is yet to rattle the net, something that has also attracted critics to be on his case.
“The most important thing is to play as a team and win as a team. The goals will come. I mustn’t be too stressed that I need to score,” said Mothiba.
“Of course, I scored against Nigeria. They might come up with a different strategy we don’t know, but we must prepare and do our best.”
The RC Strasbourg striker pointed at the game against Egypt as an example of how to get the best of out him.
The lanky marksman held up the ball so well and provided the final pass that set up Thembinkosi Lorch’s winner to send Bafana into the last eight.
“I had lot of support surrounded by Lorch and Percy Tau. I find it difficult when I don’t have support. When I get the ball and there’s no one around, I get frustrated. In that game (against Egypt) I had the support. I could hold the ball for them and peel off the defenders.”
As for his critics, Mothiba said: “I never listen to the comments of those negative people back home but always listen to those who are positive, those who say ‘keep going, the goal will come’
“Even the Bible says you must always think about what is good – don’t think about the negative things.”
Having played every minute of Bafana’s four matches at Afcon so far, Mothiba is expected to lead the attack against Nigeria at the Cairo International Stadium tomorrow (9pm).
“Everyone gave 100% against Egypt, and were focused. But now we just have to keep going because we won against Egypt for the confidence.”
Mothiba is also much aware of the importance of balancing between the excitement of eliminating the host nation and the risk of being complacent against The Super Eagles.
Nigeria knocked out defending champions Cameroon to reach the quarter-finals.
“That I’ll hand over to the coach. He’s gonna set up a proper game plan against Nigeria,” he added.
“He’s the boss and knows what he’s doing. So, we just have to follow his instructions, go there and give everything.”