Itumeleng Khune: South Africa goalkeepers have great team spirit
Posted: 29 January 2013 Time: 15:22
The three Bafana Bafana goalkeepers huddled together after the draw against Morocco – and Itumeleng Khune and Wayne Sandilands say the whole team is a tight-knit group.
Bafana came back from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Atlas Lions in their last Group A match, to make it through to the knockout round, and at the sound of the final whistle, when the rest of the players celebrated at the centre of the field, Senzo Meyiwa, Khune and Sandilands were kneeling in a hug next to the goalposts with the cameras zooming in on them.
Khune, who has played every minute in the tournament so far, was chosen the Orange Man of the Match, and his co-keeper Sandilands says the three keepers, who each represent one of the 'big three' PSL clubs, are “good friends”.
“We all know it’s not about us as individuals, it’s about the country,” the Mamelodi Sundowns shot-stopper says. “We all know we have a role to play and we have to play that role as best as we can. We are professionals on the field, but we are also good friends off it.
“We respect each other and we also push each other as best as we can because at the end of the day it’s about the country. We know that if we are not playing we push the one that is playing to do his best. We give the support to each other because we want the same when selected to play. As players we are hungry to give our best and keep performing well, and God-willing that will take us all the way to the final to do our country proud. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some players so we have to make the most of it.”
Khune agrees that there is great team spirit in the camp, and a healthy relationship among the goalkeepers.
“Yes, there is a great team spirit but also it shows the healthy competition we have. We support each other, we are always there for each other. But what I like most about Senzo and Wayne, even during the game, whether after conceding a goal or making a save, they are always encouraging me to do more and that’s what keeps me going during the 90 minutes because I know I have the support of the other goalkeepers,” Khune says.
“I don’t think there is anything that will stop us if we show that great team spirit. And it’s not only the goalkeepers but also the in-field players as well who are behind us all the way, we all have a great team spirit in camp and I believe that’s why we have come this far.”
Bafana Bafana take on Mali in the quarter-finals at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, February 2.