JOHANNESBURG – Ronwen Williams has a dream, but he has spent the better part of this month recovering from a nightmare.
Let’s start with the nightmare. The SuperSport United goalkeeper once again proved that he is not ready to be Bafana Bafana’s No 1 with his shaky performance against the Cape Verde in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Even though Williams wasn’t to blame for the two goals he conceded, he struggled to exert his authority, which would have rubbed off on his teammates leading to them having more confidence in him.
But that didn’t happen, and his Bafana teammates tried too much to protect him and ended up making silly mistakes.
“I know that I haven’t had the best Bafana Bafana career so far,” Williams said. “The last game I played, even though I conceded two goals, there was hardly anything wrong I did in that game. I think I did okay.
“That was one of my better games for the national team. But hopefully I can turn things around to cement my spot there.”
Williams is likely to continue looking at the No 1 jersey from afar, especially if Itumeleng Khune and Darren Keet are fit.
The 25-year-old’s poor showing for Bafana has led to him being labelled a club goalkeeper at best, not good enough to lead the national team in international football with its big demands.
“It’s part of football,” Williams said of the criticism he has faced. “These things will only make me stronger. I just look at it like that.
“I watch the backlash and listen to all the negative comments. It helps me to improve my game. I have been going strong for the past six years. I am not going to crack now because of what the media says.
“I am there to play for myself and my family. There is nothing I can do or say to the people who say that I am not cut out for Bafana Bafana.
“I know that I haven’t had the best Bafana career. But if the results don’t go our way, you can’t always blame the goalkeeper. There are XI players on the field.
“I take the criticism with a pinch of salt and just motivate myself to keep on going.”
Williams’ problems at Bafana are quite similar to what Senzo Meyiwa endured at Orlando Pirates before he became the club’s No 1 and captain.
The lad from Port Elizabeth has a lack of self-belief and it doesn’t help his case that he has been on the losing side in three of the five games he has started for Bafana, with one clean sheet and conceding 10 goals – granted, five of those were against Brazil.
That lack of confidence heightens with every mistake he makes. The only way he can change that narrative is by continuing to do well at SuperSport, like tonight in the clash with Chippa United at Lucas Moripe Stadium (7.30pm kickoff).
But it’s doing well in the Caf Confederation Cup that can help Williams send a stronger statement.
Matsatsantsa a Pitori will travel to Zambia after facing the Chilli Boys to take on Zesco United in Ndola in the second leg of their quarter-final tie.
The Zambians will attack SuperSport with more intent, having sat back in the goalless draw in the first leg. This is where Williams’ dream comes in.
“Playing in these competitions is a big deal. It helps the national team as well because if we can handle this pressure at club level, it means it will be nothing when we have to face it with the national team.
“You grow as a player when you are playing in these competitions. We are happy and inspired by what Mamelodi Sundowns have done on the continent.
“But locally, we want to beat them. Hopefully they can go all the way in the Champions League and we win the Confederation Cup, so that we can meet in the Caf Super Cup.”