Ronwen Williams has cemented his national team spot but the ex-Mamelodi Sundowns goalie feels the presence of the veteran gloveman is crucial in camp
Former South Africa goalkeeper John Tlale has defended Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki’s inclusion of Itumeleng Khune in his squad for the upcoming Group C 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Khune has come under fire this season following a series of blunders that proved costly for Kaizer Chiefs, but had found his way back into the national team set-up.
With Ronwen Williams having established himself as an undisputed number one goalkeeper for Bafana Bafana in recent years, the chances of Khune featuring against Ghana on Thursday and Sudan on Sunday appear very slim.
But Tlale says Ntseki made the right call on the experienced Chiefs goalminder, whose presence in camp is needed for the matches of such magnitude.
“The coach made the right choice with Khune. Form is temporary but class is permanent,’’ said Tlale as per Sowetan Live.
“We have a big problem when it comes to keepers, so I’d rather have Khune than have a young keeper because these Afcon qualifiers are crucial. We must not forget what Khune is capable of. Even if he doesn’t play, his presence is important because he can motivate other keepers.”
Although Khune was part of the previous camp for back-to-back matches against Sao Tome e Principe late last year, he last played for Bafana Bafana in November 2018 in an Afcon qualifier against Nigeria.
Williams agrees with former Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Tlale that Khune’s presence motivates them.
“It is always great to have someone as experienced [as Khune] in the team, he brings a lot on the table and he is really massive for us,” Williams told Phakaaathi.
“He has been part of the set-up for over 10 years now so the bigger picture is for him to help us. He has great abilities and he has done it all. It is now for myself and the other players to continue learning from him because he set the benchmark for goalkeepers.
“Khune has that presence about him. He changed the game for us as goalkeepers in the country and we look up to him and it is always an honour to work with him because we learn so much from him. I am just glad and I hope everything can go well for him again.”
Victory for South Africa against Ghana will see them assume top spot in Group C as they are currently tied on nine points with the Black Stars.