JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp backed Bruce Bvuma to be the club’s No 1 goalkeeper in the next “two to three years” after he disputed suggestions that Amakhosi had a goalkeeping crisis.
The Glamour Boys, who have consistently produced the best goalkeepers in the country - from Brian Baloyi to Rowen Fernandez and Itumeleng Khune, have been uncharacteristic in the high number of goalkeeping changes they have made this season trying to fill the gigantic hole left by the injured Khune.
Virgil Vries and Daniel Akpeyi have failed to live up to the high standards of Chiefs’ and Bafana Bafana’s No 1.
Vries and Akpeyi have made some serious blunders this season. So when Akpeyi was relegated to the bench in the 1-0 win over Maritzburg United at FNB Stadium on Saturday, after mistakes in his last two matches, it looked as if the German coach dropped the axe on the Nigerian like he did with Vries.
But that wasn’t the case.
“We can take a dictionary (and look at) what is a crisis,” Middendorp said. “It’s simple, without making jokes about it, we had a very important game today (against Maritzburg) and on March 31 (we have another important game against Cape Town City in the Nedbank Cup).
“I have travelled across the country to watch Cape Town City. I was in Cape Town to watch them, they’re smiling already about it and I had so much fun watching them.
“I watched them in Pretoria against Sundowns and if there’s another chance, I will go again to watch them.
“We have to be well-prepared to win this game at the end of the day. Bruce is a goalkeeper and Daniel can’t play because he is cup-tied, so you have to manage (Bruce). You can’t just say give him a training session. That’s not how it works in football.
“This change has nothing to do (with any mistakes), I am very happy with Daniel. I am very happy with his performance in the last game. He is a national team goalkeeper. He will be in the Afcon (Africa Cup of Nations). To call this change a crisis isn’t adequate. The aim was to give this guy a chance.”
Bvuma made the most of his chance. He had one nervous moment but throughout the match he was solid, giving Chiefs their first clean sheet in the Absa Premiership in six matches.
If Middendorp’s words are anything to go by, Chiefs’ main focus is the Nedbank Cup which is their only realistic chance of bringing silverware to Naturena. This means Bvuma could also be given a run against SuperSport United at Mbombela Stadium on Friday before Amakhosi host Cape Town City there at the end of the month.
“There was a small incident where you can start to discuss it (and question Bvuma’s performance), but otherwise a fantastic performance from Bruce,” Middendorp said.