JOHANNESBURG – Fans vociferously booed both Kaizer Chiefs forward Kingston Nkhatha and AmaZulu captain Tapuwa Kapini at the weekend, but is it right or wrong to jeer at your own player?
In the early exchanges of the Soweto derby, Nkhatha's touch seemed to desert him and perhaps he was guilty of losing possession unnecessarily.
However, the loud booing that rang out following his early errors could only have served to damage his fragile confidence even further.
Additionally, some fans were even shown gesturing with their hands to indicate that the Zimbabwean striker should be taken off in the first half.
The player was the subject of the same boo-brigade at times last season. It prompted Chiefs to launch the 'Don't Boo Us' campaign, an initiative that seems to have had limited success given the booing of Nkhatha last Saturday.
The powerful striker got his own back on the booing fans when he got Chiefs' equaliser in the derby.
The understandably emotional 28-year-old then ran to the fans and his gestures to them suggested they should think twice about booing him in future.
It could be that when news broke that Knowledge Musona would be ruled out of the derby with injury, Chiefs' fans expected that Lehlohonolo Majoro would be the preferred replacement and were disappointed when Baxter stuck to his guns and selected Nkhatha – a move that seemed to pay off when the big striker scored.
The booing of certain individual players seems set to continue and it begs the question about whether or not the targeting of players like Nkhatha is fair.
Meanwhile, fellow Zimbabwean and AmaZulu goalkeeper Kapini was reduced to tears in the aftermath of a 2-0 loss to Maritzburg United on Sunday.
Kapini was hit by objects – including plastic bottles – thrown by some Usuthu fans while making his way from the pitch, and was visibly upset, and lay on the ground in tears until he was assisted by his club's technical staff.
Kapini, who shipped seven goals against Mamelodi Sundowns last week, could not have done much about the two goals he conceded against the Team of Choice.
The first came after a cross in the six-yard area, which Marc van Heerden deflected into his own net, and the second was a lovely curling finish by Thokozani Sehlokong, after a one-on-one with Kapini.
The treatment meted out to Nkhatha and Kapini is reminiscent of incidents involving the likes of Siyabona Nkosi, Sthembiso Ngcobo and ex-Bafana Bafana striker Philemon Masinga, while former Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens will certainly empathise given the roasting he received a year ago from unruly Downs fans calling for his head. – KickOff/Soccer Laduma