Itumeleng Khune applauds rival goalkeepers

2014-09-28 15:00

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With Senzo Meyiwa and Brilliant Khuzwayo in top form, should Itumeleng Khune be worried, asks Timothy Molobi

As the famous saying goes, one swallow does not make a summer, but Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune has reason to be concerned.

Even though his territory has been invaded and he’s being threatened by his lieutenants, he has welcomed the competition, saying that it is good for the country.

The modest Khune says he knows that the ankle injury he is nursing will pave the way for other goalkeepers.

Khune has not only lost the Bafana armband to his rival, Senzo Meyiwa. His number one spot at Kaizer Chiefs is also under threat from Brilliant Khuzwayo.

By the time Khune recovers from the injury, which has been troubling him for months, he might have to contend with a place on the bench.

This week, he supported the two keepers and praised them for their performances.

“I was the first to congratulate them because I have been there and I know what it means to them to get the opportunity to play.

“They deserve the accolades because they are good goalkeepers and I am more than happy for them. This is good for the country as it increases our pool,” said Khune.

Despite being the captain for club and country, he will have to fight for these positions when he returns.

“Obviously, I don’t expect to walk straight back into the team as that won’t be fair to those who have been doing well. I will have to fight to regain my position, but it won’t be easy judging by Senzo and Brilliant’s displays.”

Khune said he had kept in touch with the two goalies and had encouraged them to continue with the good work.

“We goalkeepers are a tight unit and want to keep it that way. We have been supporting and encouraging one another as we don’t see ourselves as rivals. Even in camps, I like sharing rooms with goalkeepers because we have something in common.”

Meyiwa has done well to hold on to the armband and the number one spot for Bafana.

The Orlando Pirates goalkeeper kept two clean sheets against Sudan and Nigeria in the recent Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Last week, it was Khuzwayo’s brilliance that delivered the MTN8 trophy for Chiefs.

The former Under-23 goalkeeper has grabbed the opportunity that presented itself with the absence of Khune and if last weekend’s performance is anything to go by, Khune is in for a big shock.

Khuzwayo (24) has been Khune’s understudy since moving from Thanda Royal Zulu in 2012. Last weekend, he put up a man of the match performance that endeared the Umlazi-born goalkeeper to the Amakhosi faithful.

Bafana coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba said he would keep an eye on Khuzwayo with a view to selecting him next time. Mashaba said he knew Khuzwayo from the Under-20 and Under-23 teams and was not surprised by his performances.

Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic also conceded that the one thing that had stood in the way of a victory was their lack of concentration, which had resulted in Chiefs’ goal.

“When a goalkeeper is named man of the match, that means something,” he said.

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