Tokelo Rantie: The Accidental Footballer

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On the final day of the transfer window, after a farewell game at Swedish giants, Malmö, Tokelo Rantie completed his move to Bournemouth, signalling a state of ambition from the seaside club. The South African international came to Dean Court with a weight of expectation due to the inflated club record fee of 2.25 million pounds. However, the surging, cool-finishing forward is not playing for his love of the game- Tokelo Rantie is playing for his family.

Born and raised in the city of Parys, Rantie lived in poverty for most of his childhood. His Mother struggled with illness and with a large family, there was very little money to go around. Rantie’s dream was not to become a footballer, in fact, he never saw football as a job opportunity, but a hobby instead. Tokelo wished to become a businessman, and pursued his dream by applying for a business degree, but his family could not afford the fees. Football was not even Rantie’s favourite sport, as he engaged in athletics meetings for his school, running in the 100 and 200 meters.

However, Rantie’s talent on the pitch was clear and it was not long before academies came calling. The Stars of Africa Academy, led by Farouk Khan, signed him on the spot. The academy played a huge part in his development, giving him the experience of competitive football in Mozambique and then Swedish side IFK Hassleholm, before going to Orlando Pirates.

Rantie guided the Pirates to a second consecutive treble, spearheading their front line. His dynamic performances impressed Malmö, who took the striker on loan, with a view to a permanent move. He made great progress in Sweden, scoring a wonder goal against Halmstad and becoming one of the most dangerous strikers in the league.

Rantie signed a long-term contract with Malmö in the summer, but it was not long before Bournemouth came calling. Middlesbrough were also interested, but were not prepared to stump up the cash. However, after completing a medical in Durban while on international duty, the Cherries were successful in getting his signature.

With fellow Bafana compatriots, Steven Pienaar, Dean Furman, Bongani Khumalo and Kagisho Dikgacoi playing in England, Tokelo will take less time to settle down in England than he did in Sweden. He has also stated that the majority of his wages will be used to treat his sick Mother, and help out the rest of his family. I am sure that the quick and agile striker will not be a flop in England and will soon find his feet in the Championship.

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