Ronwen Williams feels he can guide the Bafana Bafana rookies, especially as he served a lengthy apprenticeship under former captain and No.1 Itumeleng Khune.
CAPE TOWN – “I am a big boy now.”
That’s how new Bafana Bafana captain Ronwen Williams feels after new coach Hugo Broos appointed the SuperSport United goalkeeper as captain ahead of Al Ahly superstar Percy Tau for the two Fifa World Cup 2022 qualifiers against Zimbabwe and Ghana this coming week.
“I think Rowen has the experience, he is a man that can communicate, that’s very important. On the other side we have Percy, he is obviously more quiet. He has experience of playing in several European leagues and has the respect of all the players,” Broos said of his new leadership group.
Williams, 29, made his national team debut back in 2014 already against Brazil, collecting 19 appearances over the seven-year period. He is, though, an experienced leader, having been captain of his club for a lengthy period and also recently leading the SA Under-23 side at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics last month.
“I have been part of the national team set up for the past eight years. I think I have gained valuable experience over the years. It is a massive responsibility leading not only the team, but the whole country. That’s how I see it, but it’s something I am looking forward to,” Williams told the media at Dobsonville.
“I am a big boy now. I am proud to be here. It’s been hard work and dedication to get here. Most importantly we want success. We are obviously still disappointed that we are not at Afcon. It’s still at the back of my mind because I was obviously a part of that campaign. But we need to put that aside and focus on what is ahead of us. We start on a positive note and need to change our mentality.”
Broos has selected a youthful squad for the Qatar 2022 qualifiers, consisting of exciting talents such as Kaizer Chiefs’ Njabulo Blom (21), TS Galaxy’s Ethan Brooks (20) and former Cape Town City forward Gift Links (22), who is now based in Denmark at AGF.
Williams feels he can guide these rookies’ expectations, especially as he served a lengthy apprenticeship under former Bafana captain and No.1 Itumeleng Khune.
“I learnt from one of the most experienced guys. Itumeleng was one of our best goalkeepers and I worked with him for many years. I learnt so much from him and that’s what I took from every camp. I have learnt over the years and hopefully I can help the younger guys now,” he said.
“For the six years I didn’t really play I was on bench learning, gaining experience. I know how the younger guys are feeling. Obviously they have nerves and want to impress. It’s my job to help them keep calm. There is a reason why the coach picked them because of their performances.
“I just need to make them realise they must play their normal game, and not try to impress because that will come naturally.”
Bafana face neighbours Zimbabwe on Friday afternoon at 3pm in Harare before hosting the Black Stars on Monday at 6pm.