Local News 26.7.2016 01:05 pm

Paulse slams Khune, Da Gama

Itumeleng Khune. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Itumeleng Khune. Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Ajax Cape Town striker Nathan Paulse has launched a scathing attack on Itumeleng Khune ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Khune was one of two overage players picked by Owen Da Gama for the Games, alongside his Amakhosi teammate Eric Mathoho.

Khune does seem likely to play in Brazil ahead of Paulse’s teammate Jody February, who was instrumental in the team qualifying for the Olympics.

“I don’t see why he (Khune) has been picked. People throw the ‘experienced’ tag around, but I think experience only counts when you’ve achieved on that (highest) stage, which then allows you to pass on that experience,” Paulse told Sport24 on Monday.

“Khune hasn’t done anything great for South African football as yet. I mean, South Africa hasn’t won a cup at senior level. So for me if you’re selecting a senior player, you should either take someone with experience who has achieved at the highest level.

“The number of caps can be thrown into the argument, but caps in my opinion have been won by just about any Tom, Dick and Harry, so to say he’s the most capped player, to be quite frank, it means half-and-half because we fail to hand out caps to players who’ve earned it.

“I think you have to look at the individual players added and what they’ve done over the last year or two. If you look at Khune especially, he’s been injured for a large part of the last year and a half or almost two years now and has struggled for form,” added Paulse.

“I think Jody is obviously proud and happy to be going to Rio 2016, but deep down, knowing him, I think that if I was him I’d be absolutely gutted at the inclusion of Khune, not only for the fact that I don’t think Khune is better than him, but also as I think there is this false hype that is built around him.”

“The boy has to hope and pray that the football gods smile on him because the South African football gods have no brains, to be quite honest,” said Paulse.

“How do you claim that you have a vision of working towards 2022, but you’re going to put a player there who everyone knows will play and yet hasn’t given anything to the senior team?
“I also think the powers that be in SAFA see Khune as this golden boy which for me is all an agenda and the fact they’ve taken him along is a last shot to be put in the world’s eye for a possible transfer to a big team.

“But if he is that good or as they say, “Mzansi’s number one”, then he should already be playing in one of the top leagues in the world.

“Again, the reason why I say South African football lives on its own and hasn’t got any regard for world football is because somehow we think that SA football can hold its own. So because of this we speak highly of “Mzansi’s number one”, but if you were the number one in SA, you should have been playing in the world’s best leagues by now or the world’s best teams should have knocked on your door by now.”

Khune appeared to respond to Paulse’s comments on Tuesday when he tweeted a cartoon with the tagline: “No matter what u do. People talk”.

Paulse also criticised the decision to appoint Da Gama as South Africa’s coach at the Olympics.

“I think that South Africa has enough qualified ex-professionals who have played overseas and on the world stage to make a positive impact,” said Paulse.

“I think it’s time that they take a stronger stance because you also can’t complain all the time that our football isn’t moving forward. We have all the ex-pros who are either too scared to come forward or are just happy to be doing their jobs wherever they are. That’s why you’ll find people like Owen Da Gama being employed because they are happy to be ‘yes’ men.”

READ: Benni questions Khune, Mathoho selections for Rio

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