Former Bafana Bafana captain Aaron Mokoena says the abuse he took from a section of South African football fans never bothered him too much.
For all his achievements - being the youngest player to represent his country for some time and still holding the record for most caps won (107) - ‘Mbazo’ was often a divisive figure amongst the local supporters.
Mokoena believes a lot of it had to do with the fact that he never represented either of the Soweto giants - Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates - instead starting as a youngster at Jomo Cosmos before finishing his career at Bidvest Wits.
“I always say it becomes easier when you play for bigger clubs in South Africa to be among the loved ones when it comes to the national team itself,” he tells New Frame.
It was a similar situation for the late Phil Masinga, who often found himself the victim of the ‘boo boys’, despite some vital and memorable goals in his 58 appearances for South Africa.
Mokoena, who these days works as a coach at Cape Town City, feels there are enough fans who acknowledge his many achievements, adding he is more than happy with how his career panned out.
“I had a lot of fans who idolised me and had the ones who felt that somebody else should have been the captain, but it is what you get in football. I travelled the world, I played in big leagues, I played in big cups – it wasn’t a fluke.
“It never bothered me who does what, who loves me or not. All I wanted was to achieve my goal, which I did.”