CHERRIES striker Tokelo Rantie has revealed how fatherhood is spurring him on as he looks to prove himself during his second season at Dean Court.
Rantie has experienced differing fortunes – both on and off the pitch – since joining Cherries for a club record fee from Swedish outfit Malmo last August.
The 23-year-old South African scored three goals in 31 appearances, including 16 from the bench, and admitted he was struggling to adjust to life in England.
Rantie, who was raised in the remote town of Parys in the Free State, became a father for the first time when his partner Gaositwe gave birth to their son Kutlwano at the end of March.
The player was given paternity leave to return to South Africa to attend the birth and also spent time with his family during the summer break.
But with his soon-to-be fiancée not due to finish her university studies until December, Rantie will only get to see his son occasionally between now and then.
In an emotional interview with the Daily Echo, Rantie said: “Being a father is exciting and something which has given me motivation when I go to training.
"I am not only doing it for my family, I have a little boy now who will always most definitely be looking up to me so I can’t allow myself to disappoint him.
“He is the new reason I want to do well. He is the reason behind things that I am going to do this season.
"He is still young and, hopefully, by the time he knows what is happening, I will be somewhere where he can sit back and say “I’m proud of my father”.
“I am doing this for him now because this is the first time I have been a father and don’t want to let him down. Football can do wonders in someone’s life so I want him to come and see what the Bournemouth people are doing for me. I want him to come one day and say, above everything else, he is happy his dad came here.”
Rantie added: “When he was born, I wanted it to bring his mother’s family and my family closer together so we decided to call him Kutlwano, which means togetherness in South African.
“They should move here in December and that is what I want because I need them to be here with me to help take my mind off football at times. There are times when I just want to concentrate on them.”