Did Ntseki forget Sandilands when he selected Khune for Bafana squad?
Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki says Itumeleng Khune was named in the squad for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sao Tome because of the many South African goalkeepers not playing regularly in the PSL‚ the Kaizer Chiefs man is the best.
Khune's inclusion‚ having played just four games for Chiefs this season‚ and two since a second return from long-term injury in 2019‚ has raised eyebrows.
Ntseki pointed out that currently there are many foreign goalkeepers keeping South Africans on the bench in the Premier Soccer League‚ including Nigeria No 1 Daniel Akpeyi playing ahead of Khune at Chiefs.
The Bafana coach said of the six goalkeepers profiled by his selection committee for the Cameroon 2021 qualifiers against Sao Tome and Principe at FNB Stadium on Friday‚ March 27 and then the Atlantic Ocean island on Tuesday‚ March 31‚ only two were playing regularly.
Ronwen Williams‚ a star of the 2019 Nations Cup in Egypt‚ is SuperSport United’s in-form regular.
Ntseki’s third-choice keeper in the Bafana squad‚ Brandon Petersen‚ was being kept out of Bidvest Wits by Ricardo Goss – who was called up to the 1-0 Nations Cup win against Sudan in November – but has played the last six matches for the Clever Boys.
Ntseki said four other keepers were profiled for the remaining keeping position‚ and all of them were being kept on the bench at their clubs.
What seems strange is that this appears to indicate that Orlando Pirates’ Wayne Sandilands‚ in solid form and playing just about every game for Bucs‚ was not considered.
“I’m fully aware that Itumeleng Khune hasn’t played‚” Ntseki said.
“In our meeting with [Chiefs] coach Ernst Middendorp I made him aware that I might select Khune‚ and we had a very interesting discussion about Khune.
“He ended up saying to me that Itumeleng Khune and Daniel Akpeyi are the No 1s at Kaizer Chiefs – the difference is that Daniel is currently doing well. And‚ by the way‚ Daniel has also gotten a call-up for Nigeria.
“A playing Khune‚ with his qualities and his experience‚ is a player to be considered for the national team.
“When you look at the six goalkeepers that we profiled for Bafana Bafana going into this camp we realised that it was only Ronwen Williams who is currently playing regularly.
“Brandon Petersen was not playing. He was left out because Ricardo [Goss] was doing well. But this time it’s been Brandon who’s been playing‚ so we’ve taken him.
“When it comes to the four goalkeepers who are not playing‚ who will provide answers for us‚ ‘Itu’ fits that quality that we are looking for. That is why we have ‘Itu’ in the team.”
Bafana are in second place in Group C from a 2-0 away defeat to Ghana and 1-0 home win against Sudan.