Rulani Talks Keeper Competition, Teamwork & Sparring Partners

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PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 18: Ronwen Williams of Mamelodi Sundowns during the DStv Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and AmaZulu FC at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 18: Ronwen Williams of Mamelodi Sundowns during the DStv Premiership match between Mamelodi Sundowns and AmaZulu FC at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena has explained why goalkeeper Ronwen Williams has played all their games so far.

Williams has been in goal for Sundowns since making his debut in their league opener against Cape Town City. 

In addition to his nine starts at Masandawana, the Bafana Bafana shot-stopper was also preferred in goal in the MTN8 quarterfinal clash against his former side, SuperSport United. 

Mokwena was asked why there has not been any rotation in goal, as the likes of Denis Onyango and Kennedy Mweene were regulars last season.

Read: Three Months Later, Where Is Sundowns' Highly-Rated Signing? 

Williams played a crucial role in Sundowns' win against AmaZulu and Mokwena explained that what is keeping Williams on top of his game is the competition he's facing at the club. 

"Sometimes, it's a biblical principle, they say, "iron sharpens iron" and if you see the performances of 'Ronza' you also have to give a lot of credit to the goalkeeping coach," Mokwena said in a post-match conference. 

"But also you have to give a lot of credit to Denis, to Kennedy and even Reyaad [Pieterse] for the competition that they are giving him. I mean, I think 'Ronza' knows by their own sort of acclaim that Denis should be number one anywhere else in the league, Kennedy is number one anywhere else in the league. For sure, Reyaad is staking a claim for that position and that's why we rewarded him with a position on the bench [against AmaZulu]," he said. 

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"And part of having a good boxer is having a good sparring partner you know and Ronwen knows that in any moment when any of the other goalkeepers takes the opportunity to play, the chances of reclaiming that position is going to be very difficult. And therefore he has to try by all means to be consistent with his performances and try to stake a claim for being the number one goalkeeper at the club, which is not easy because of the competition." 

Before Williams' arrival, Onyango was the most used goalkeeper last season as a number one, with 16 league starts, six starts in the CAF Champions League, two starts in the MTN8 and one in the Nedbank Cup. 

Mweene followed right behind him in the previous campaign, with seven league starts, two starts in the CAF Champions League, two starts in the Nedbank Cup and one start in the MTN8. 

Read: R35m Star Leads 10 Most Valuable Players At Sundowns 

Mokwena added that fortunately, Onyango, Mweene and Pieterse are good human beings and are supporting Williams as they patiently wait for their chances. 

"Motivation is about feeling that you've got a chance to play, 'if I perform well and I fight at training, I have a chance to play, there's a position available'," he went on. 

"And at this moment Ronwen is doing very well but for sure the fact we've got very good goalkeepers also who just so happen to be very good human beings too. And they support Ronwen and they give him all the support that he possibly needs and they just have to be very patient and wait for their turn and for sure when they get their chances to play, I'm sure they will make amends and fight for their positions," he concluded. 

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