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Ronwen Williams blunder exposes another Bafana Bafana weakness

23:40 GMT+3 17/11/2022
Ronwen Williams, Bafana Bafana, March 2022
The South African number one keeper wasn’t at his best, despite a 2-1 win over Mozambique at the Mbombela Stadium on Thursday night

A lack of depth in the Bafana Bafana goalkeeping department is likely to be of concern to head coach Hugo Broos as well as future national team bosses.

Williams was lucky to escape conceding a fourth minute goal after carelessly gifting the ball to Isac de Carvalho, only for the Mozambique forward to strike the upright.

And while the goal scored by Mozambique striker Nelson Divrassone was primarily a result of Rushine de Reuck’s poor back-pass, Williams was sluggish to react. He could also perhaps have averted danger by being more aware of the threat and communicating accordingly with de Reuck.

To be fair though Williams has proven a reliable stopper for Bafana Bafana over the last few years and is a keeper of high quality as we’ve seen over a decade in the PSL.

But what if he loses form or is injured or suspended for a big game? At 30, Williams has a more few years to feature, but the worry is that there are not many young South African keepers raising their arms.

A lack of competition can also lead to complacency. On the bench against Mozambique were Veli Mothwa – a 31-year-old at times erratic AmaZulu keeper - and Melusi Buthulezi - still unproven in the PSL at just 24 and with only 22 top-flight league appearances to his credit.

A look at the PSL shows few options – many of the teams are employing foreign keepers, such as Richard Ofori (Orlando Pirates/ Ghana), Lloyd Kazapua (Chippa United/ Namibia), Hugo Nyame (Royal AM/ Cameroon), Washington Arubi (Marumo Gallants/ Zimbabwe), Badre Sangare (Sekhukune United/ Ivory Coast), Toaster Nsabata (Sekhukune United/ Zambia) and Anye Derick Fru (Maritzburg United/ Cameroon).

Until recently, Denis Onyango, Kennedy Mweene and Daniel Akpeyi were regulars for Sundowns and Chiefs.
Spoilt for choice back in the day

The current situation is a long way off what South African football has been accustomed to.

About a decade ago for example, the likes of Itumeleng Khune, Senzo Meyiwa, Moeneeb Josephs, Rowan Fernandez and Wayne Sandilands were all fighting for the number one berth. There were also the likes of Calvin Marlin, Nhlanhla Khuzwayo, Shu-aib Walters and Emiile Baron.

Going further back, top keepers such as Andre Arendse, Brian Baloyi, Roger de Sa and Hans Vonk had to battle it out.

While South Africa’s lack of strikers has been a clear issue for years now, the worry is that the goalkeeping department is also not in great shape.