Sat Sep 23 02:25:04 SAST 2017

Keepers in arms for South Africa - Khune praises his Bucs pal

By Mazola Molefe | 2012-12-14 09:38:40.0

ITUMELENG Khune hasn't always been the No1 goalkeeper for club and country. He learnt how to fight for his spot in the national junior teams, and the Kaizer Chiefs goalie's biggest rival was Senzo Meyiwa, his Orlando Pirates counterpart.

Khune's rivalry with Meyiwa will be renewed at Bafana Bafana level following the latter's call-up to face Malawi in a friendly international next Saturday.

"I am proud of Senzo and the progress he has made," said Khune this week.

But, the Chiefs keeper, who played second fiddle to Meyiwa at under-17, -20 and -23 level, admits it's been a long road to recognition for his long-time friend.

"He has been very patient because (Moeneeb) Josephs has been doing very well. In football, that is what you get if you work hard, you will always get a prize," said Khune.

As late as it might have been, Meyiwa's reward for perseverance did finally come this season when Josephs, the first choice at Pirates, was dropped for a crucial away Premier League match against Mamelodi Sundowns.

Meyiwa stepped in and the Buccaneers were 3-1 winners, with coach Roger De Sa afterwards making it clear that Josephs would have to fight to retain the No1 jersey. Five games later, Meyiwa is still hogging the gloves and is now likely to make Bafana coach Gordon Igesund's Africa Cup of Nations squad.

"We are going to meet again in the Bafana squad. We played together in the under-17, -20s and -23s and it's good for the country the players who are doing well are being called up. I think Senzo deserves it."

Meyiwa is lapping up all the attention. From Soweto derby heroics last weekend to a Bafana call-up for the first since 2007, but still without a cap.

Khune couldn't be prouder of his mate and their reunion in Bafana colours next week will bring back fond memories.