CAPE TOWN – New Cape Town City goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh’s heroics in a penalty shoot-out victory over Mamelodi Sundowns in Atteridgeville on Sunday has garnered much attention, but it is his overall presence and contribution that have been more valuable for the Capetonians.
Not only was he brilliant during regulation time over 180 minutes of football played against Sundowns over two legs, but his calm, composed demeanour has certainly infused the Cape squad with confidence and belief.
And, as such, the Mother City has a new sporting hero - Leeuwenburgh - after the 24-year-old Dutch goalkeeper’s fantastic performance inspired City to the final of the MTN8.
The Cape side lost 1-0 to Sundowns in the second leg of the semi-finals of the competition on Sunday - but, with City having won the first leg by the same score-line at Cape Town Stadium last week, it was all-square on aggregate at 1-1. A penalty shoot-out ensued, in which Leeuwenburgh produced two great saves to secure City a place in the climax of this event for the second year running.
Leeuwenburgh has now been in the Cape for a little more than a month - and he has had a major impact, not just on City but on the PSL too.
Leewenburgh was happy to have made a contribution to City making the final, but he was quick to deflect praise on to the rest of his teammates.
“It’s not about me,” he said. “It was a great team performance. Of course, I’m very happy to have saved two penalties and to help my team, but also the guys who scored their penalties in the shoot-out did a great job, and made it possible for me.”
As a goalkeeper, it must be tough during the pressure of a penalty shoot-out. How does he handle it?
“A penalty shootout is always difficult,” said Leeuwenburgh. “But you have nothing to lose; so, for me, it’s about waiting as long as possible and letting the player make the choice. If you don’t stay calm, the taker will be confident that he’s going to score; as a keeper, you have to try to make him nervous, so you have to look confident.
Against Sundowns, in the shoot-out, the coaches and I did our homework on how Sundowns players take penalties. I needed to know as much as possible about Sundowns’ regular penalty-takers.
“City are a young club and we have reached the MTN8 final for the second successive season, so let us go for it and lift the trophy this time.”