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Ronwen Williams happy to work with youngsters after the departure of experienced players

FILE - SuperSport United captain Ronwen Williams in action during their Nedbank Cup last 32 game against Maritzburg United in February. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

FILE - SuperSport United captain Ronwen Williams in action during their Nedbank Cup last 32 game against Maritzburg United in February. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

Published Apr 6, 2022

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Johannesburg — SuperSport United captain Ronwen Williams says he is not dwelling over the departure of some of their senior players in recent years, instead he has welcomed the responsibility of working with youngsters who are the future of the club.

Williams is the club’s longest serving player in the current squad, having been at SuperSport for more than two decades. He emerged from their academy before working his way up the ranks to not only be their No. 1 but the captain as well.

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Over the years, SuperSport have had one of the strongest squads in the top-flight, which included players such as the former Bafana captain Dean Furman. But due to various reasons, including reports of financial woes, most of them left the club.

Coach Kaitano Tembo, offered limited resources to work with, has been forced to tap into the reserve team for players. The likes of Jesse Donn, Keanan Phillips, Jamie Webber and Keagan Johannes have raised up their hands this campaign.

These youngsters thrived under abnormal circumstances, including playing during Covid-19. Others such as Thalente Mbatha, Gape Moralo and Bilal Baloyi have been sparingly used due to their inconsistent outings week in and week out.

“That’s football. At this club, they’ll give you an opportunity to play. SuperSport is one club that prides themselves with giving minutes to youngsters. Some of them have grabbed the opportunity and others need to work more," Williams said.

“But it’s good that they are getting the minutes to play. They are doing well and chipping in with the goals. We need them and we can’t be dwelling over the players that are not here. We need to focus on the ones that are available now.”

Despite their short-comings, SuperSport remain one of the most ambitious clubs as they want to win silverware season in and season out. But realistically, can they be able to achieve their targets with a relatively youthful team?

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“In the last two years, we’ve gone through a transition phase. We’ve lost most of our players, the more experienced ones,” Williams said. “We’ve replaced them with youngsters. It is going to take them a while before they gel into the team.

“I know that as the captain. We just have to stay focused, take positives and know that in a few years time this team will challenge for trophies. They’ll be winning things again. We don’t have the big players like we used to, we know that.”

Willams says they are targeting a top five finish, although they are realistic about their chances. But SuperSport can fancy their chances in the Nedbank Cup where they’ll meet Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in the quarter-final tomorrow.

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“It will be another tough game,” said the Bafana No.1 ahead of their tie against the second tier division team, TTM. “They’ve got nothing to lose. But we need to be professional, go out there and make sure we are in the hat for the semi-final.”

@Mihlalibaleka

IOL Sport

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