ITUMELENG Khune is living testament to the fact that hard work eventually pays off.
The now revered sho t-stopper started out as a defender when he arrived for trials at Kaizer Chiefs in 1999, but experienced chest problems during a junior game and was reduced to being a ball boy.
He caught the attention of youth coach Jacob "Terror" Sephooa when he dived for balls that had missed the target and the coach converted him into a goalkeeper.
In 2004 the young Khune was promoted to the first team.
After three seasons of waiting to get game time, Khune finally got his break in 2007 after the departure of Rowen Fernandez to German club Arminia Bielefeld.
With the experienced Emile Baron often plagued by injuries, Khune was given a break by former Kaizer Chiefs coach Muhsin Ertugral against Jomo Cosmos on August 28 in Durban and the Ventersdorp-born goalkeeper has not looked back.
It is extremely likely that Khune will be manning the poles during the World Cup next month after doing well in the Confederations Cup last year.
This will be a remarkable achievement for the 22-year-old, whose journey to stardom was not an easy one.
Yet he has shown great perseverance and is destined for great things in his career.
Khune says playing in the World Cup would be the realisation of a dream.
"It would be overwhelming, a dream come true. I've always had the dream of wearing the national team colours and I have worked hard to achieve it," Khune told Sowetan yesterday.
"I have played in the Confederations Cup and Cosafa Cup games but playing in the World Cup would make me ecstatic and highly inspired."