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Mon Apr 21 06:37:22 SAST 2014

Rantie a rich picking

NICK SAID and MARK GLEESON | 18 June, 2012 07:370 Comments
Tokelo Rantie is tackled by Landing Pape of Gabon during the friendly in Nelspruit on Friday. Rantie, playing only his second game for Bafana, scored one of the team's goals in a 3-0 win

TOKELO Rantie must have added a few hundred-thousand rands to his price tag with his maiden goal for Bafana on Friday night.

The 21-year-old scored in just his second international - a 3-0 win over Gabon - but he might have left Orlando Pirates boss Irvin Khoza with mixed feelings.

The player will now return to Sweden and his fifth-division side, IFK Hässleholm, but he is unlikely to remain there long, with suitors in that country and at home eager for his signature.

Pirates will start negotiating a permanent transfer this week and believe they are in pole position.

In fact, Rantie has remained on Pirates' list of players for the 2012 Carling Black Label Cup match against Kaizer Chiefs on July 28, even though he is not their player at present. That is how sure they are that they will bag him.

The player has also been urged by his mentor, Stars of Africa Academy head Farouk Khan, to remain with the Buccaneers.

But the coach of Hässleholm, Bo Nilsson, has warned that a return to Mayfair is far from certain.

"We will listen to Orlando Pirates, of course, and maybe we will make a deal with them if the offer is right," Nilsson told The Times. "But there are a lot of teams in Europe that are interested in the player and we must listen to them too.

"We know we cannot keep him here, he has moved beyond the level of Hässleholm. He is a fantastic player and one with great potential, and we believe he has the raw ability to play for a long time at the highest level."

Reports last week suggesting Rantie would be involved in a swap deal with Supersport United's Kermit Erasmus are well wide of the mark, first because the latter is on his way to train with Swedish side Helsingborg and will sign only for an overseas club.

And second, because the Bucs want to hold onto the young star, who formed an excellent partnership with Benni McCarthy in the closing months of last season.

There will be no rest for Bafana Bafana caretaker coach Steve Komphela, whose interview for the national job is being held today and who then goes straight back to his Free State Stars club.

He will have had no break since his side's final game of the season on May 19. He was in camp with Bafana Bafana 24 hours later and in a dramatic three weeks with the national side has gone from being Pitso Mosimane's assistant to the caretaker and one of five candidates for the vacant post.

"Safa have asked me if they can do the interview with me on Monday now, so I'm preparing for the presentation in Joburg. There is a lot of stuff to put together," he said. "Then straight afterwards I will drive to Bethlehem to join up with the clubs. I've told Mike Mokoena [Stars owner] what's happening and that I'll be a bit late."

Stars begin pre-season preparations with medical tests and work on their fitness.

"Our physical conditioner will drive the process [in the first fortnight]. I will be there mainly in a supporting role," Komphela said.

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