Johannesburg - Kaizer Chiefs’ have nurtured some of the finest goalkeepers over the years have made it difficult for anyone to walk into the starting line, and that’s why current No. 1 Bruce Bvuma is crediting his hard work.
After the arrival of Brandon Petersen this season, Bvuma was expected to be pushed further down in the chasing pack, given that Nigerian and Bafana Bafana international Daniel Akpeyi and Itumeleng Khune were still in the set-up.
Coach Stuart Baxter, before being fired, gave the quadruple a chance between sticks in the first half of the season, but it was Petersen that emerged as the No. 1 early this year.
But a poor run of form from the former Bidvest Wits goalie saw interim coach Arthur Zwane change hands between the sticks, with his protégé Bvuma getting the nod ahead of the fully fit trio instead.
Bvuma has grabbed the bull by horns, conceding once in Chiefs’ recent three-game purple patch as they bagged seven points out of a possible nine.
“It wasn’t easy, it hasn’t been easy, and I knew it wasn’t going be easy as well. If you want to play for Chiefs, you go through challenges,” he said.
“I knew that I had to keep working hard and give my best each and every time.
“I tell people when they ask why I am not playing that we have four No. 1s here at Chiefs. So, whoever gets their day always does the job. All you must do is be patient and wait for your chance while you are ready.”
Chiefs have had a turbulent domestic season as they are on course to endure their seventh trophy-less campaign. A feat that's defying for the club that’s dubbed the ‘Cup Kings of South African Football’.
But amid the crisis, Chiefs could salvage their season by qualifying for continental football next season if they finish second or third on the log standings respectively.
That might be easier said than done, but the permutations are simple: Chiefs must beat Swallows FC tomorrow, bank on Cape Town City to lose against Stellenbosch, while Royal AM and Orlando Pirates must draw their last two games.
A Chiefs win over Swallows at FNB in the Soweto derby wouldn’t only increase their chances of playing continental football next season, but it could all but relegate their neighbours who are in the hazardous relegation quagmire.
“This is football, I believe they are in this position based on the performance they had throughout the season,” Bvuma said of Swallows’ lacklustre outing in their second season back in the top-flight.
“We are also in this position based on the performance that we’ve had this season. Yes, this game might be the decider but if they had won their last two matches they wouldn’t be in this position.”
With rivals Pirates competing in the final of the CAF Confederation Cup this evening in Uyo, while Mamelodi Sundowns crashed out of the Champions League quarter-final, Chiefs want to return to the big stage as well.
“With us as Chiefs, we are looking to get back to Africa whether it’s in the Confederation Cup or Champions League. Our preparations are the same, we want to win the game and see where we end up,” Bvuma said.