JOHANNESBURG - Kaizer Chiefs are known for consistently producing quality goalkeepers over the years. That is the main reason why young shot-stopper Bruce Bvuma wants to keep that trend going.
Bvuma (22) made his first-team debut last season in the 3-2 loss to Cape Town City, when Itumeleng Khune and Brilliant Khuzwayo were both injured.
There’s no denying that Chiefs skipper Khune (30) is the best goal-minder in South Africa, and when he is absent from Chiefs or Bafana Bafana colours it is easy to see how much he is missed.
Last week all the headlines were about Khune’s facial injury ahead of Bafana's crucial World Cup qualifier against Senegal, with the keeper playing with a mask to protect the injury.
Before Khune it was Rowen Fernandez who commanded regular game time at Amakhosi and he was also the incumbent for Bafana Bafana at that stage.
Fernandez went on to play in Germany where he plied his trade with Arminia Bielefeld. Chiefs fan also enjoyed the individual brilliance of Brian “Spiderman” Baloyi, who is currently operating as the goalkeeper coach at Amakhosi.
Other keepers who served Chiefs with distinction are William “The Coal Cat” Shongwe, Gary Bailey, Eshele Botende and Joseph “Banks” Setlhodi.
“Khune is one of the best and Chiefs is known of producing top goalkeepers in the PSL," Bvuma says. "I’m very grateful that I’m working with him, Khuzwayo and coach Baloyi.
"Coach Brian played for Chiefs and he was also my role model back in the old days. I’m happy that I’m working with my role model and I want to also do well whenever I can get an opportunity to play.”
Bvuma understands the long journey ahead of him, but admits that he isn't afraid of competing for a first-team spot with his seniors.
“I have a lot of respect for Khune and Khuzwayo but I’m not in the first team just to add numbers," he says.
"I have to keep on fighting and learning as well. The experience that I have has been priceless. Playing for Chiefs is huge honour. This is a big team. Getting the chance to play for them means a lot to me.”
Currently there are no African-born goalkeepers in South Africa who have played overseas, but Bvuma wants to buck that trend.
“There’s a lot that I want to achieve. For me to achieve those goals I know that I have to work harder. I have to sacrifice a lot of things. I also have to work on some areas of my game like commanding the my area and communicating well with my defence,” Bvuma proclaimed.
"My professional dream is to go and play abroad. But for me to be noticed and go overseas I first have to play and perform for Chiefs. If I’m playing well for Chiefs I will get national team call-up."
Bvuma's first call-up was to the Bafana Bafana squad that was playing African Nations Championship qualifiers.
“I can’t say it came to soon. It was God's timing. He is always perfect,” Bvuma said. "I had been working hard and praying. Everything is coming up right for me. I learned a lot during my time with Bafana, and traveled with the team to Zambia. I learned what is like to playing away against the crowd and the referees too. It was hard for me but it was a great experience