Outgoing South Africa coach Corrie Van Zyl Sunday admitted that their perennial chokers tag creates pressure on the team and asked the fans to stand by the players in the wake of their shocking exit from the World Cup.
Van Zyl, who had already decided to step down after the World Cup, apologised to the fans but said the people should not use the chokers tag to address the team as it does not provide motivation to the players. South Africa suffered a batting collapse and lost to New Zealand by 49 runs in the quarterfinals on Friday.
“It’s important that everyone in South Africa sees the extra burden that is put on their team. The opposition see every opportunity to use the word ‘chokers’ on and off the field for one reason: to get at us mentally,” said Van Zyl.
“But when our own fans keep reminding us of the past, it doesn't provide motivation, it just brings extra pressure. We need to deal with this in a different way as a nation. We need to stick together. Most of this squad were not part of the previous Cup defeats, but the people make them a part of it.”
The defeat in Dhaka was South Africa's fourth one in the knock-out stages of the World Cup. Van Zyl conceded that the team could not keep the composure when it mattered.
Cricket South Africa and the sports ministry are set to review into the team's shock exit.
The coach dismissed suggestions the make-up of South Africa’s squad was wrong. “I don't think we needed anyone else apart from the 15 players we had there,” he said.
“For those conditions, it was the right 15, without question, and it was proven right through the World Cup. We played some seriously good cricket, barring 10 overs on Friday night.”