CAPE TOWN – Moeneeb Josephs is in his 20th year as a PSL player and he’s still going strong.
His longevity at the top level of the sport can be summed up in four words – passion, perseverance, industry and character.
Last week in the opening game of the season – when Wits secured a place in the semi-finals of the MTN8 after a penalty shoot-out victory over Golden Arrows – Josephs was at his mischievous best, with his experience and gamesmanship rattling the Durban side’s penalty-takers.
And in that shootout, it was again the goalkeeper’s passion that caught the eye. His ebullience, as always, was infectious – as a player, he wears his heart on his sleeve and you don’t get less than a 120 percent effort from him.
Josephs doesn’t give up, he doesn’t know when to quit. His self-belief is unshakeable and, even now, at the age of 37, he is still making a contribution to the success of the team he represents.
The Mitchells Plain player made his debut as a 17-year-old for Cape Town Spurs and has gone on to perform with distinction for Ajax Cape Town, Orlando Pirates and Wits.
He is a three-time PSL champion – with Pirates in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 and last season with Wits.
Josephs was a member of the Bafana Bafana squad for the 2010 World Cup, held in South Africa.
When Itumeleng Khune was red-carded against Uruguay, Josephs came on for his big moment to represent his country on football’s biggest stage. He also started the next match against France.
Any footballer with designs on such durability needs to understand that it doesn’t come naturally, it requires extraordinary dedication, industry and blinkered hard work.
Josephs has a fantastic work ethic – and, today, he works as hard as he did when he was 17; the same passion and enthusiasm he displayed as a teenager, he shows in each and every game.
He has had his ups and down, but still, he’s never wavered in the belief in his ability. He’s picked himself up many times and splattered egg on the faces of those who tried to put him down.
In 2014, after an error in goal for Bafana, a sports minister unnecessarily felt the need to single Josephs out for criticism.
The keeper took it on the chin, rattled back and continued to perform with aplomb for his club. Every footballer makes mistakes, but character is to be found in the ability to bounce back.
Young footballers take note: Josephs’ commitment and passion are traits important to emulate.
He’ll share the No 1 position with Darren Keet – but no matter how many games he plays, or whether he watches the action from the bench, expect Josephs to remain an integral part of the Wits squad this season.