Where have all the SA keepers gone?
Even the most casual follower of the PSL would have noticed that the league boasts a very strong contingent of foreign goalkeepers who've made the No.1 jersey their own.
At a number of clubs like Kaizer Chiefs, Mamelodi Sundowns and Maritzburg United, local shot-stoppers are playing second fiddle to talented foreign keepers such as Daniel Akpeyi, Denis Onyango and Richard Ofori, respectively.
At Amakhosi, Akpeyi toppled fan-favourite Itumeleng Khune, and the Nigerian has proven beyond doubt that he's a quality keeper, while Ugandan Onyango has also done the same at the Brazilians, playing ahead of local boy Reyaad Pieterse, who's third in the pecking order behind second choice Kennedy Mweene of Zambia.
Hailing from Ghana, where he's also the Black Stars' first choice, Ofori has been a colossal figure for Maritzburg since joining from his native Wa All Stars in 2017. Out of 22 league outings he's featured in, Ofori boasts 10 league clean sheets, one behind SuperSport's Ronwen Williams who has kept one better, but having played two games more, thus far.
It's a local keeper in Bongani Mpandle who's pushing Ofori at the Team of Choice.
The Zimbabwean duo of Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka) and George Chigova (Polokwane City), alongside Dutch pair of Peter Leeuwenburgh and Boy de Jong on the books of Cape Town City and Stellenbosch respectively, are other keepers from outside the country who've taken the Premiership by storm.
Chipezeze, 30, has eight Absa Premiership clean sheets from 23 matches, with Chigova, who's a year younger, boasting three in 16 games.
All in all, 50% of regular keepers in the PSL are non-locals. But taken their impressive statistics into account, they have brought about the competitiveness in the local elite league. To show for their supremacy, a fair number of them like Ofori, Onyango and Akpeyi are also No.1s for their national sides.
Even SuperSport and Bafana Bafana keeper trainer Andre Arendse agrees foreign keepers' presence strengthen the level of competitiveness in the league.
"As much as you'd like to see local goalkeepers coming to the fore, the foreign keeper bring a lot of quality to the league," said Arendse.
"It's a good thing to have them because their presence inspires competition from local young keepers . to fight harder for places."
Is this a cause for concern for Bafana? Arendse doesn't think so. The Matsatsantsa keeper mentor feels the national team's goalkeeping department is in safe hands for at least the next 10 years, tipping Williams and Bidvest Wits' Ricardo Goss to fight it out for the No.1 jersey for the many years to come.
The 16 PSL teams and their current No.1s
Chiefs, Akpeyi (Nigeria)
●Pirates, Sandilands (SA)
●Maritzburg, O fori(Ghana)
●Wits, Goss (SA)Arrows,
Sifiso Mlungwana (SA)
●Highlands, MarlonHeugh (SA);
●Celtic, Jackson Mabokgwane (SA)
●CPT City, Leeuwenburgh (Holland)
●Stellenbosch, De Jong (Holland)
Chippa, Veli Mothwa (SA)
●Baroka, Chipezeze (Zim)
●Polokwane, Chigova ( Zim)
●AmaZulu, Siya Mbatha( SA)
●Leopards, Jonas Mendez (Guinea Bissau)
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