Monday, November 29, 1999

I owe South Africa an apology: Khune

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Pretoria, June 17 (DPA) Itumeleng Khune, who Wednesday became only the second goalkeeper to be sent off at the World Cup finals, said he owes South Africa an apology.'Obviously the guys came to me and said sorry, but I think that I owe them an apology and to the rest of South Africa. It was not deliberate, but I think I owe everybody an apology.'I think they deserve an apology because they were there for us as a team so I think for something like that to happen was not nice to anyone.'The Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper saw a straight red for a tackle on Luis Suarez in Bafana Bafana's 0-3 defeat to Uruguay in a Group A game played at Loftus Versfeld.With his side already trailing to a first-half Diego Forlan goal, Khune tripped Suarez in the 76th minute with the goal gaping.Swiss referee Massimo Busacca immediately brandished a red card, meaning Khune joins Gianluca Pagliuca of Italy, who was sent off in the Azzurri's 1-0 win against Norway at the 1994 World Cup.Forlan scored the subsequent spot-kick against substitute goalkeeper Moneeb Josephs. Alvaro Pereira headed in a third in added time.'I am disappointed, but there is nothing that I can do. I am not sure if I deserved to be red-carded, but it is the referee's decision, there is nothing I can do.'It is my job to stop him from scoring and I tried to do that.'South Africa are in grave danger of becoming the first ever World Cup host to be eliminated in the first round and need to beat France in their final group game June 22 in Bloemfontein to stand any chance of advancing.Khune said he believes it is still possible to go through.'We have to learn from our mistakes. I think we gave it away from the very first minute, so in our next game we have to go at them from the very first minute.'I think it will be very tough against France, but I think we can do it because we need maximum points to go through.'We all know the importance of our last game and we will have to do better in it,' he said.

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