Clash of the keepers

IT is the present against the future: two of the country’s best goalkeepers, Itumeleng Khune and Ronwen Williams, will be on opposite ends of the same field when the two sides clash in the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup at the FNB Stadium tomorrow.

Chiefs’ Khune is South Africa’s No 1. Also true is that SuperSport United’s rapidly-rising keeper seems sure to fill that gap as soon as Khune departs from the scene. Khune himself concurs.

Khune’s athletism and Williams’s cool, calm and collected demeanour will certainly be a big part of this clash of giants.

“Williams is one of the most talented young keepers in the country with a bright future,” Khune said.

“Despite our huge loss against Brazil, he made several good saves for a youngster playing at that level for the first time. But we are going to bounce back from our defeat against Aces and look forward to our game against United who are one of the most difficult teams to beat.”

A seemingly confident United coach Cavin Johnson said: “This could turn out to be an exciting clash when the No 1 keeper plays against the future No 1 keeper. The fact that both have been called up for Bafana Bafana’s game against Australia tells you what picture should be expected in the near future.

“I am always comfortable with Williams between the poles. He is improving with every game and is prepared for the dreaded penalty shootout. We look forward to this clash against the best team in the league in the country’s best soccer venue.”

Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter, whose team is still licking its wounds following their surprise 1-0 beating by Mpumalanga Black Aces, has asked his charges to give this game one big push.

The Tshwane side will be without their deadly striker Mame Niang, who has been booked off for an operation.

Meanwhile, Chiefs medical team are baffled by a mystery injury bugging their leading marksman Knowledge Musona, which is causing a gloomy atmosphere in the camp.

A deeply concerned Baxter said their doctors were working feverishly and would send the player for more tests to try and establish the problem.

“Medical examination did not show anything,” Baxter said. THE Nedbank Cup quarterfinal draw has thrown giants of the local game together in some massive matches that will define the season for some of the teams involved.

Times Media looks at the history of the four clashes and finds plenty of cause for hype. Kaizer Chiefs v SuperSport United This match is a repeat of the 2013 Nedbank Cup final that went to extra-time and was eventually won by Chiefs after a Bernard Parker goal.

– Louis Mazibuko

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