at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Pretoria – Wits goalkeeping coach Andre Arendse fears the furore over the blunder club-mate Moeneeb Josephs made in the Bafana Bafana versus Nigeria game might affect his performance for his club in the second half of the season.
The former Bafana first choice goalkeeper says it may take years for Josephs to overcome the error that led to the second goal in the 3-1 elimination match against the Super Eagles in the African Nations Championships. Arendse is no stranger to such public uproar as in 2002 it was his goalkeeping mistake cost Bafana in the World Cup in Korea and Japan against Spain.
“It’s an error that as a keeper lives with you forever. It took me years to get over it and deal with. It consumed me for the longest time. I know Moeneeb and he absolutely hates himself for what happened. These are things you don’t get over easily,” Arendse said. “It’s my job to make sure that he doesn’t dwell on it because we have the PSL to look forward to.
“The world cup in 2002 was the perfect example. To this day people talk and criticise me for the mistake I made. I know what’s it’s like and what Moeneeb is going through, and it’s not a nice feeling. For a keeper it feel awful when you concede any goal. And one that is conceded from a mistake feels even more terrible.”
Arendse, who holds the record for the oldest player to appear in the PSL, feels that the criticism that has been directed towards Josephs was unfortunate and unfair. “In general the harsh criticism towards him wasn’t fair. To be singled out like that it’s unfair on him and what he stands for as a professional. But when you look at it, everyone makes mistakes, there are 10 other players. A striker can miss 10 or even more chances and no one talks about it,” he said.
Although he went through a torrid time in 2002, the 46-year-old said the Moeneeb incident seems worse because he wasn’t publicly lashed by a prominent individual, after sports and recreation minister Fikile Mbalula called the performance a disgrace.
“In my case it never got that far where I was attacked by a prominent person in the country. It’s not nice when it comes from anybody let alone a minister of the country.”
Wits have the best defensive record in the PSL with only seven goals conceded. They currently sit in third position on the table with 25 points, five behind table-toppers Kaizer Chiefs.
Despite the error Arendse is convinced that Josephs still has a future in the national team and that retirement would be a bad decision. “I would advise him not to retire because I believe he still has a lot of offer the country. I know him and I know the passion that he has for the game which I see everyday in training,” he said.
Wits resume their PSL campaign at home against Orlando Pirates on February 4. Like Josephs, Bucs will also look to bounce back from their weekend loss when they take on AmaZulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban tonight.
Pirates lost 2-1 to SuperSport United and defender Ayanda Gcaba believes playing Usuthu gives them a perfect chance to fix the mistakes they made at th Orlando Stadium.
“The loss to SuperSport wasn’t nice. A lot was expected from us coming from the break and we thought our first game was going to be a good start,” said Gcaba.
“Now we have to rectify the mistakes we made in that game when we play AmaZulu. We have been trying new combinations for this upcoming game.”
The Bucs centre-half believes some star players could be rested and others be afforded a chance. Among these is Mozambique recruit, Helder Pelembe, who made his debut against United.
“I think key players will be rested and the new boys are going to play this game.
“Especially Pelembe. He came on later in the second half in the last game and tried his best but it was already late for him to do anything. Probably in this game he will get a fair chance to show what kind of a player he is. From what we have seen, Pelembe is a good player.”
A clean sheet and maximum points against AmaZulu would be a priority for Gcaba and his team mates.
“I will be happy with a clean sheet.
“The most important thing will be that we keep a clean sheet. It’s been a while since we last kept a clean sheet. We also need to score goals to get those three points.
“It’s going to be an all-out attack, AmaZulu are not a defensive team. Their coach is always looking at ways to counter how we play and we also have to counter their play so that it suits us better.”