Teko Modise: Booed players can do with support
Growing up, Teko Modise witnessed footballers being booed, and he's gone through the same experience during his professional career that has spanned over 15 years.
So when Modise saw Pirates striker Thamsanqa Gabuza throw his jersey at his team's supporters and walk off the field in their 2-1 win over Black Leopards at Peter Mokaba Stadium in midweek, Modise was left heartbroken.
"It's something that if you overlook, it's going to be a big problem," cautioned Modise, who was watching the match on television from his home in Cape Town.
"I don't condone what he [Gabuza] did, but I understand how it feels, because I was once in that position where I felt that I don't give a sh*t anymore. Not every player is strong to sustain those kind of things and keep going. It's not easy at all," he said.
So the Cape Town City midfielder has one question for local football followers: when will this end? "For people who work in the office, when they have stress they go to a psychiatrist and pay whatever they pay and go back to work. It's very different with us [footballers] and sometimes we don't even have people to talk to.
"Most of the time, even people you speak to have never been in that situation, so they actually don't understand how you feel. I watched the game and I saw how he reacted. I thought I could keep quiet but I can't, because if I had the support when it happened to me I wouldn't have stayed in that situation for a long time," continued the Meadowlands-born, Soweto, footballer.
The 35-year-old is hoping that the booing would be a thing of the past sooner rather than later. "As much as I played well at SuperSport and at City Pillars, when I came to Orlando Pirates the fans appreciated me and it made me a better player.
"They escalated my career in so many ways, but those are the same people when I had issues with [Pirates], without understanding what I was going through, they just started booing me. Now that I've written a book they come back and say, 'sorry man, we didn't understand'.
"I'll die to have Gabuza as my teammate today, because of the stuff that he does on the pitch. He's selfless. Let's start a new culture in South Africa and let's be supportive."