Itumeleng Khune of Kaizer Chiefs and Denis Onyango of Mamelodi Sundowns have been on top of their game for both club and country in the past decade.
THE COMPETITION for supremacy between two best Premier Soccer League goalkeepers – Itumeleng Khune of Kaizer Chiefs and Denis Onyango of Mamelodi Sundowns – has divided South African soccer fans.
The pair have been on top of their game for both club and country in the past decade.
Naturally these days, the debate has escalated to a fierce social media war as to who is the best between the two players.
This week Khune himself entered the fray to try and settle the debate on his twitter account. Onyango, on the other hand kept silent until Independent Media posed some questions to him.
“I didn’t want to talk about that issue because it really drives me crazy. Of course, Itumeleng has probably his own issues but I’ve got no problems with Itu. It is always good to pinch someone and see how he reacts. For me, I believe he knows what he is trying to do. I was actually not happy because it came out at the wrong time for me.
“For me, I believe that it is not a nice time to bring up such an incident where people are divided in terms of arguing and debating about who’s the best, who is doing that and who has done that,” Onyango stated in an exclusive interview with Independent Media.
Onyango emerged as the winner of 2016 African-based Player of the Year gong after he propelled the Brazilians to glory in the Caf Champions League and Caf Super Cup, but is more focused on unity than division.
“In these times, we need each other. We don’t need supporters to argue against each other. I might have a neighbour who supports Sundowns and the other one supports Kaizer Chiefs and then they will start the debate. They will start fighting each other over something that is so small.
“Yes, it is a good debate for soccer fans but I don’t think it was the right time. He has done what he has done with the national team and with his club.
“I respect that. He has done his part and I’ve also done my part. Let us just respect each other and keep the youngsters motivated because there’s no point for me to start arguing with Itu. It is up to him to decide what he wants to say, “ he added.
“I appreciate him going to social media and saying that I’m the best but it is not up to us as players to decide who is the best. People who watch football and who watch us week in and week out are the one’s that should do such things.
“I have much respect for him. He is a quality goalkeeper and unfortunately he has been having injuries here and there. I believe he will come back strong. The debate is OK but I don’t think the time was right,” Onyango said.
While Onyango has enjoyed individual accolades during his time with Sundowns, Khune has also dominated the Goalkeeper of the Season gong in the PSL. He has amassed three accolades.
In 2013, he was crowned the Footballer of the Season.
“I’ve got no issues with him. I believe that he has got no issues with me also. It is all about bringing something that drives us and other people which is OK. As I said, I wasn’t happy with the timing because people are trying to get together and they are reconciling. I wouldn’t believe that it is him who went and said who is the best. Let us show our abilities in the field of play. Everyone has done that.
“Everyone has shown in the pitch because we’ve got different qualities. He has his own and everyone wants to play like him. There are those that wants to play like Denis.
“Let us showing it by making it interesting on the pitch rather than on social media,” Onyango explained.
Khune recently tweeted that Onyango was the best, a comment that merely served to stoke the fires further.
Khune has also competed in all major international tournaments (Olympic Games, World Cup, Fifa Confederation Cup and Afcon) while Onyango has the Champions League under his belt.
“I have no issues him and we don’t hang out together but we can always bring back the rivalry in to football and hype back. That will make us to work ever more harder,” Onyango concluded.