JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs’ goalkeeper Bruce Bvuma has challenged friend and teammate Brylon Petersen to dare to dream that his opportunity to ascend the pecking order will come.
Bvuma’s sentiments follows after his meteoric rise between the sticks for the Glamour Boys this season - playing in the last three matches, while he’d only featured in as many matches in the past three seasons.
The 23-year-old shot-stopper, who’s nicely filling in the void left by the injured captain Itumeleng Khune, has conceded in only one of those matches, while one of the clean sheets led his team to the semi-finals of Nedbank Cup.
In the absence of Khune, Bvuma is holding the fort, deputised by the cup-tied Daniel Akpeyi and third fiddle is played by the erratic Virgil Vries, while Petersen is fourth in contention.
“I played with Brylon in 2014 at (Bidvest) Wits, so I’ve known him for the past six - seven years. I was with him at the development ranks, and we came together this side. We are always talking and we don’t stay far from each other. He’s a positive guy and knows that his chance will come as well,” he said.
Bvuma’s is one of the boomers from the new breath of fresh air that’s bestowed by German tactician Ernst Middendorp at the club. Middendorp’s second stint has been a marvel to watch, as he’s injected a sense of belief to all the players - including those who were on the fringes.
In the process, he’s used the club’s resources to resurrect their “Cup Kings” tag.
Yes, the 60-year-old coach is in the last-four of the Nedbank Cup due to a bunch of development players he’s played in the competition. Fan-favourite Happy Mashiane was introduced to the masses in the Nedbank’s opening round, while Bvuma is now two matches away from helping end the club’s barren run.
However, the highly anticipated feature of reserve league’s captain Nkosingiphile Ngcobo in the seniors proved a major blow as he injured himself in his full start against SuperSport United last month. Ngcobo was ruled out for almost six months, and will also miss the 2019 Fifa Under-20 World Cup in Poland in May, despite playing a major role in the qualifiers.
“He’s been my captain since he was a 17-year-old. I know him very well, and what you’ve seen in the two games that he’s played is nothing compared to his capabilities. With more game time he’ll come out of the shell,” Bvuma said. “The injury is really sad though and I feel for him. But everything is in God’s hands.”
The Glamour Boys will return to league football this weekend as they welcome relegation-threatened Baroka FC to the FNB Stadium. Middendorp’s troops are seventh on the log standings and mathematically still in the title race as they trail pacesetters Mamelodi Sundowns by eight points, while there’s 18 still to play for.
But with the cluster of rivals, Orlando Pirates, Bidvest Wits, Cape Town City and SuperSport United, all in the running, Chiefs main priority is a decent finish.@Mihlalibaleka