Ronwen Williams relishes his elevated role in Bafana

Ronwen Williams during the African Cup of Nations match between Cote d'Ivoire and South Africa at Al-Salam Stadium on Monday (June 24, 2019) in Cairo, Egypt. Picture: Ahmed Hasan/Gallo Images

Bafana Bafana’s new hero Ronwen Williams believes his solid performance in the team’s opening Afcon game has cemented his place in goal.

The 27-year-old was the standout performer in a rather poor showing by South Africa in their 1-0 loss to Ivory Coast on Monday.

He said he needed just one game to exit the shadow of his nightmare debut when he conceded five goals in a 5-0 hammering by Brazil in a friendly outing in 2014.

“I’m much more mature now in my performances. I don’t make as many silly mistakes as before; I feel that I’m growing,” he said during Bafana’s build-up to their next Group D Afcon fixture against Namibia on Friday.

“I never gave up when many people had written me off. It was years of continued hard work,” added the reigning PSL goalkeeper of the season.

“My immediate goal is to remain Bafana’s number one. That’s why I said I needed that one performance and get the consistency; to have the belief from people that ‘that boy can play at the highest level’.

“Since last year when I came in the second half against Paraguay, for me that was the turning point.”

Williams replaced Darren Keet in the Nelson Mandela Challenge clash against the South Americans, which ended 1-1 in Durban in November last year.

My immediate goal is to remain Bafana’s number one. That’s why I said I needed that one performance and get the consistency; to have the belief from people that ‘that boy can play at the highest level’.
Ronwen Williams

This week, he only received confirmation on match day that he would start against Ivory Coast, ahead of Bidvest Wits goalie Keet, in what turned out to be a surprise move by Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter.

“Darren had an amazing game against Libya [in Bafana’s final Afcon qualifier in March]. But now I have to move on and focus on the next game,” he noted.

The game against Namibia is a must-win if they still harbour any ambitions to remain at the 24-nation continental championships.

Today’s Afcon fixtures

Nigeria vs Guinea 4.30pm

Uganda vs Zimbabwe 7pm

Egypt vs DR Congo 10pm

The Brave Warriors also lost their opening game when a late own goal decided their clash against Morocco last Sunday.

“Everyone says it’s going to be an easier game for us but I don’t think so because most of the Namibian players know us. We play them each week in the PSL. It’s going to be a challenge for all of us, we both lost,” cautioned Williams.

“They don’t want to lose against us. They defended well against Morocco. They know their strength as to do defend and play the counter attack.”


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