Cape Town City pull plug on Rantie's soccer career

16 December 2018 - 13:02
By Mark Gleeson
Tokelo Rantie.
Image: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix Tokelo Rantie.

Tokelo Rantie is back in the footballing wilderness and set for a second year without playing after Cape Town City released him from his contract without him kicking a ball.

Rantie's departure has been low-key, lost amid the excitement at the club at the arrival of Kermit Erasmus to bolster the striking department.

But City chairman John Comitis did reflect on Rantie's exit, giving some insight into what went wrong with the attempt to restart the career of the ex-Bafana Bafana striker.

"Tokelo's issues are personal to him and I don t think [talking to the media] is the right platform for us to be discussing it," Comitis said.

"We are still in the background supporting Tokelo and we haven't completely cut off ties with him. We are basically trying to see what a solution could be.

"In everybody's career at some point they go through some difficult patches. Some challenges are harder than others and we need to respect that and give him some space.

"He's a great player and I would love to see him back in South African football but at this stage I'd like to leave it at that."

Rantie, now 28, has not played since October 2017 after walking out on his club in Turkey and forgoing a lucrative contract. He told his club Genclerbirligi he had to go home for a relative's funeral and never returned, amid reports of personal problems.

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The 12 months on the sidelines saw him put on significant weight but City offered him a chance back into the game.

Rantie trained with the side over the last five months and was put on a series of special diet and training programmes but club insiders say he drank heavily. He is also in the midst of a difficult divorce.

A frustrated City eventually pulled the plug on his deal when they ran out of excuses as to why Rantie was still not ready for his comeback.

Rantie last played in the PSL six years ago, when he was in the colours of Orlando Pirates, but they did not retain his contract. Instead, he went to Sweden and surprised by making a major impression as he helped Malmo to the title.

That caught the eye of English club Bournemouth, then still playing in the Championship, who paid a club record fee to sign him but did not extend his contract when it ran out.

Rantie was the national team's lead striker before the emergence of Percy Tau, and has 12 goals in 41 appearances.