JOHANNESBURG - The long wait Wayne Sandilands endured before he once again became the No 1 goalkeeper shaped him to be the confident figure who has brought stability in Orlando Pirates’ defence.
The Bafana Bafana goalkeeper struggled for consistent game time at Mamelodi Sundowns. Sandilands was behind Uganda’s No 1 Denis Onyango and an Africa Cup of Nations winner with Zambia, Kennedy Mweene, in the pecking order.
The ‘keeper from Benoni made just 15 appearances for Sundowns in the last four seasons. Despite that, he made the most of the limited chances he got and wasn’t demotivated by his struggle.
“I don’t regret anything from the past,” Sandilands said. “Everything that happens, happens for a reason. What I went through has built me to be the person that I am today. I take a lot of positive from the last two years, winning the (CAF) Champions League and gaining valuable experience.
"For me it has always been about being ready, always knowing that life gives you opportunities and you must take them. It’s added steel to my character. I am grateful for that time. It’s made me who I am today.
"I am looking to build on the good platform that we have already established. It’s a team effort. We just have to keep on setting high standards for ourselves and look to improve.”
Sandilands has kept four clean sheets in five matches. He has brought something the club desperately needed last season, a solid goalkeeper who commands the box well after Bucs conceded 40 goals in the league last season.
With Sandilands, the Sea Robbers have tightened things at the back to have the best defensive record in this campaign having been beaten only once in five matches. Bidvest Wits will offer them their biggest test thus far on Saturday at 6pm.
Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic is confident the Buccaneers will once again come out on top. The Serbian coach was full of praise for the 34-year-old ‘keeper.
“I remember Sandilands as an opponent,” Sredojevic said. “I am honoured, pleased and privileged to have him as my player now. He has immeasurable contribution towards things happening on and off the field.
"He is an extended arm of us as the coaching stuff. He injects the team with maturity, seniority and leadership. Therefore, empowering him and other players has been a formula that has worked for us off the field.
"On the field, he gives a lot of confidence to the team. He gives the team reasons to work for him and he works for the team. It is a two-way traffic. For now things have been going in the right direction. This match (against Cape Town City) is now in the past. We are looking into the future against Wits.”