Mamelodi Sundowns’ Ronwen Williams ‘reshaping South African goalkeeping culture’

Mamelodi Sundowns goolkeeper Ronwen Williams has been in fine form for both club and country this season. Picture: Khaled Desouki / AFP

Mamelodi Sundowns goolkeeper Ronwen Williams has been in fine form for both club and country this season. Picture: Khaled Desouki / AFP

Published Apr 24, 2024


Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rhulani Mokwena has punted Ronwen Williams to win the PSL’s coveted Football of the Season award, saying the goalkeeper is revolutionising the game in South Africa.

Williams was rested on Tuesday night as Sundowns took another step closer to another league title with a 2-1 win over Sekhukune United. But it didn’t stop his coach from praising his No 1 goalkeeper as the country’s best.

Goalkeepers don’t normally feature high on the list for individual honours besides their own golden glove award, with Itumeleng Khune in 2012/13 the last shot-stopper to win the award.

Williams was voted the best goalkeeper the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year, after he helped Bafana reach the semi-finals of the tournament. But Mokwena believes he is more than just a shot-stopper.

“There is an unorthodox front runner in Ronwen Williams. It’s unorthodox because we normally don’t consider goalkeepers to receive such awards,” Mokwena said.

“Honestly, it’s an award that very seldom goes to a goalkeeper, but when I look at Ronwen’s contribution this season, not just in terms of goalkeeping, but infield play and possession, I think he has been head and shoulders above the rest.”

Mokwena says Williams’ ability to play with his feet, as well as being one of the best shot-stoppers on the continent, will be the reason why teams will change the way they recruit goalkeepers.

According to Mokwena, Sundowns, a team who enjoys building up from the back on attack, needs 11 players who are comfortable in possession, with their build-up play starting with their Bafana Bafana goalkeeper.

“I think what Ronwen has done this season will shape South African goalkeeping culture for many years,” the Sundowns coach said.

“Teams will start recruiting goalkeepers who can play with their feet and assist in the build up. The days are gone of looking at goalkeepers who can just stop shots.”

Sundowns have had a tough period with matches coming thick and fast locally and in the CAF Champions League.

They travelled back from Tunisia over the weekend following a tough 1-0 defeat at the hands of Esperance, beat Sekhukune and now face the Tunisians again on Friday before taking on Kaizer Chiefs next Tuesday.

Mokwena praised his charges for their effort against Sehukune, saying their team showed their mental toughness.

“I want to congratulate Mamelodi Sundowns, the whole football club. It’s a difficult period for us and every victory counts,” he said.

“I want to congratulate the technical team, coaches and the players for pulling through. What we did today was nothing short of a miracle.

“Without our strong mentality we don’t win this game. Especially after what happened in our last league game against Moroka Swallows.

“We dug deep and I’m very proud of them. We suffered when we needed to and were potent when we needed to be.”