Ngobeni: Not everyone can be a Khune


Highlands Park's Thela Ngobeni says not every goalkeeper will reach the heights of Itumeleng Khune or Ronwen Williams in their football careers.

The 31-year-old has not managed to reach his full potential since he graduated from the Kaizer Chiefs youth academy in 2008.

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Ngobeni has been an understudy to the best goalkeepers in the local game, including Denis Onyango at Mamelodi Sundowns, but the shot-stopper showed his quality when he helped Free State Stars win their first trophy in 24 years after defeating Maritzburg United in the 2018 Nedbank Cup final.

"I have started training but obviously I'm just trying to regain fitness, I have been sidelined for about six months now due to the meniscus [injury]," Ngobeni tells

"I can say my season has been average to be honest, because there was nothing new, nothing much except that I was in a different team. Just before the injury I was still playing regularly, I was getting enough game-time and my confidence was growing. I think the only challenge I've had at Sundowns was game-time.

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"I wouldn't say they've delayed my progress, the only thing that didn't happen at Sundowns... I didn't play [laughs]. Maybe I need to slaughter [a goat] but I don't think I have bad luck. To be honest, I think that's how my career or journey is supposed to be.

"I honestly always try to look for the positives, and personally I feel like not everyone is going to be an Iker Casillas, an Itu Khune, a Darren Keet going abroad you know. Not everyone is going to be a Ronwen Williams who came at a very young age and even made it to the national team.

"I think if I look at my career and what has happened until now, I would say I am happy. I don't think I have bad luck. Yes, there's things that have hindered my opportunity to play regularly, like getting enough game-time, I mean when I was still at Chiefs you know.

"I think it's the life that was meant for me, and I really appreciate it and I enjoy it because now I have the opportunity to play and I can't complain. So I just need to work hard."

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