After struggling with consistent game time at Sundowns, Sandilands has gone on to be a solid goalkeeper who commands the box well for Pirates
THE LONG wait Wayne Sandilands (pictured) 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 league in the last four seasons.
Despite that, he made the most of the limited chances he got and wasn’t demotivated by his struggle. He was solid when he replaced Onyango in the second leg of the CAF Champions League final against Zamalek in Alexandria last year.
Sandilands took Sundowns to the finish line of a heated match to help the Brazilians become African champions for the first time. Five games into the 2017/18 season, he has proven to be the Sea Robbers’ best signing.
“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 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. Without such a ’keeper and a shaky defence Pirates conceded 40 goals in the league in the last campaign.
Only three other teams conceded more goals than that.
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 so far on Saturday at 6pm at Bidvest Stadium. But Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic is confident they will once again come out on top.
The Serbian coach was full of praise for the 34-year-old ’keeper, describing him as a “gentleman” who in “the 25 years of coaching, is in the top five of the most professional players that I have seen.
“I remember Wayne 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.
“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.”