National ambition revives Parker
BERNARD Parker said his omission from Bafana Bafana in November, after two years of being a regular in the national team, had been a wake-up call.
The Kaizer Chiefs striker has scored seven goals in five league games already this season, making him the Absa Premiership's top marksman.
Parker, in a rare interview after training at Naturena yesterday, said being left out of the national team's friendly international against Ivory Coast in November helped him pursue his hunger for goals.
"I realised I was trying too hard at club level and still not scoring goals. By the time I go into the box, I did not have the legs to carry me into the positions where I could score," said Parker, who netted just four goals last season.
"I was then dropped from the national team despite playing regularly for my club. My guess is that I was snubbed because I wasn't scoring goals."
Parker said he was aware he would be in danger of being left out of next year's Africa Cup of Nations. The forward was in action for Bafana against Brazil and Mozambique early this month and scored twice against the Mambas in Nelspruit.
"It was my main aim to score and get back because I want to serve my country. I want to be there for the Africa Nations Cup," Parker said.
The former FC Twente player hopes to add to his league goals tomorrow night when Chiefs host PSL rookies Chippa United at Soccer City.
"I've seen Chippa play and they work for each other. They took their physical game from the NFD right into the PSL. My plan is not to get sucked in by the pressure this season, whether I am doing good or bad," said Parker.
The "Chilli Boys" were rapturous in celebration in midweek as they won a first ever PSL game. But they now have their sights set on a much bigger scalp at Soccer City tomorrow.
"Taking our first three points was a big morale boost for the club. We are expecting a similar game to them we had against Celtic, who tried everything against us, but we managed to stop them," said coach Roger Sikhakhane.
(Additional reporting by Mark Gleeson)