1996 AFCON Winner Andre Arendse on Bafana Bafana Goalkeeping Department

Andre Arendse at Bafana Bafana camp serving as a goalkeeper coach

“I’ve said it before and people got angry, but I will say it again: In the PSL there are players who are good enough for [domestic] competition. But when they come a level higher, it is a problem. It is difficult for people to accept that when I say it. I felt that already in the last months, where everybody was angry, saying this is disrespect for the nation or whatever. But I’m 35 years in coaching and I was 17 years as a professional player in Europe,” said Hugo Broos in September 2022.

Bafana Bafana head coach Hugo Broos has been preferring Ronwen Williams in goals in many matches the country has been playing ever since he took over the national team in May 2021. In fourteen matches Broos has been in charge of Bafana Williams has missed only two matches.

Despite the significance of the goalkeeper being familiar with his defence, the continuous Belgian born preference could cost the national team going forward. For instance, If Williams gets injured at his club and fails to be part of the national team camp the second goalkeeper might struggle to adjust with the back-four because he’s not used to playing in the national team. 

Moreover, friendly matches can arguably be the best chance for coaches to rotate their squads to give some players a chance to play, especially when coaches are building the squad. They also help to bring competitions in different departments which makes the team even more competitive. 

In response, former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper and 1996 AFCON winner Andre Arendse insisted the coaching staff in the national team should make sure that they make proper research for the goalkeeping department that’s in a similar class for the benefit of their expectations. 

“It’s down to the coaching staff to make sure that they search high and low for a goalkeeping department that’s at a similar level when it comes to the coaches’ expectations and the qualities are of a very high standard. So that you prevent any kind of period where the replacement goalkeeper still has to adapt to the situation and get to a higher level and at international level there’s no time for that,” Andre Arendse tells ThisIsFootball.Africa 

He added: “One of the ways we can prevent the situation where there’s only one top competent goalkeeper in the national team is that we need to spread the development process across the country. I always believe that starting at club football, if I use PSL as an example, is where we probably [is] our falling short at the moment in terms of the component of the goalkeepers playing for professional clubs in the PSL. I would have to say roughly speaking [that] about 50-70% of goalkeeping places are occupied by foreign goalkeepers and that doesn’t open the door very nicely [for] young local goalkeepers to come through.”

“Therefore, we have to look at what kind of development structures are in place. I believe we have to place a lot more focus on developing our local young goalkeepers and get them to international levels starting with professional contracts at local clubs. 

“I think once you get the development process working more evenly you [will] be able to bring out a bigger pool of goalkeepers who then potentially could fall into a selection process for the first-choice goalkeepers at international level,” he concluded. 

In the last twelve matches Ronwen Williams has played for the national team he conceded thirteen goals in total and kept four clean sheets. Whereas the two matches he missed Bafana didn’t concede any goal. 

Using one goalkeeper in the national team can demotivate other goalkeepers who are doing well in their club and decide to retire from playing for the national team in the early stages. 

Broos, who is facing fourth place World Cup runners Morocco in March can rotate his goalkeepers based on how they concede goals. That can possibly improve his goalkeeping department.

Also Read: Arendse: That’s Something That Won’t Change

Andre Arendse at Bafana Bafana camp serving as a goalkeeper coach
Andre Arendse at Bafana Bafana camp serving as a goalkeeper coach