Middendorp puts faith in Bvuma in goal
Bvuma spent a lengthy spell on the sidelines when Itumeleng Khune dominated the No1 spot. But after Khune suffered a long-term injury, Bvuma finally came out of his shell in the second half of last season and made 10 domestic appearances.
Four of those, though, came in the Nedbank Cup, a competition in which the 24-year-old was the No1 as Daniel Akpeyi was cup-tied and Virgil Vries demoted to the bench.
Bvuma started his Nedbank Cup campaign in the last 16, inspiring his team to the final, where they succumbed to second tier division TS Galaxy by 1-0 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on the last day of the season,
His overall domestic outings, though, had already done enough to earn him a spot in Bafana Bafana’s squad for the recent Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) action, where he played third fiddle to Ronwen Williams and Darren Keet.
Enter the new season, and Akpeyi has been Middendorp’s preferred No1 and the Nigerian-born goalkeeper has grabbed the opportunity, inspiring Chiefs to the summit of the Premiership standings and the Telkom Knockout semi-finals, where they’ll play Maritzburg United at Mbombela Stadium, tomorrow.
Akpeyi is suspended for the Telkom Knockout clash, though, and Middendorp has rallied behind Bvuma to fill in the void. “Bruce Bvuma is playing - that’s not a secret. He played in Port Elizabeth against Chippa United 14 days ago and it was a good game. He contributed in a good way,” Middendorp said this week.
“We are not talking about an unknown here. He was in the Afcon - one of three names in the goalkeeping department for the national team. He’ll be 100 percent back in the future for the national team. But for now let him grow, learn more, be better and gain experience.”
Tomorrow, Bvuma will be deputised by returnee goalkeeper Brylon Petersen. The 23-year-old was released by the club at the end of last season, but he made a U-turn early this month due to a shortage of personnel.
In the bigger scheme of things, the club announced that Khune, who is also the captain, is fully fit, although Middendorp has not selected him for tomorrow’s clash in Mbombela.
While a win will bring Chiefs closer to ending their four-year trophy drought, Middendorp is aware that won’t be a walk in the park: “We are taking them very seriously," he insisted. While Chiefs’ focus will be on Maritzburg tomorrow, they’ll also be closely monitoring the other semi-final tie between Golden Arrows and Mamelodi Sundowns this afternoon.