With Thulani Hlatshwayo dropped from the national team, a new skipper had to be selected by the coaches
SuperSport United goalkeeper Ronwen Williams has been named as Bafana Bafana captain for Thursday’s international friendly match against Uganda at Orlando Stadium.
Williams will be deputised by Orlando Pirates left-back Innocent Maela for the match which Helman Mkhalele will take charge of, as South Africa’s newly appointed head coach Hugo Broos is in Belgium receiving a second coronavirus jab, while first assistant coach Cedomir Janevski is unavailable after testing positive for Covid-19.
It is not yet clear if Pirates defender Thulani Hlatshwayo has been permanently stripped of the armband after he was omitted for the Uganda match.
But with Williams being one of the longest-serving Bafana players and having shown some leadership qualities as SuperSport skipper, chances are that he could remain as Bafana captain beyond the Uganda clash.
“Yes, we have decided, we have decided that he [Williams] is going to be the captain and also he will be seconded by Innocent Maela,” said Mkhalele as per iDiski Times.
“But you know what I said to the players? I said, you are all captains, you know you are the ones who should be deciding, you know, the future or deciding what should be happening on the field of play. So all of them need to play that role. But yes, of course we need to have someone who will be wearing that armband.”
Williams has accepted the role of leading the team on Thursday but concedes it will not be an easy task.
Over the years, he has established himself as a reliable goalkeeper after claiming the number one spot from Itumeleng Khune, while also sidelining the tested pair of Darren Keet and Wayne Sandilands.
“It’s a new challenge. You know, it’s not going to be easy. I mean, it’s a new team, but the guys are ready, we’ve done a lot of work in a short space of time but the guys look ready,” Williams said.
The SuperSport man leads a new look Bafana squad which marks the start of the Hugo Broos era following the sacking of former coach Molefi Ntseki at the end of March.
Broos has opted for younger players but says he is not doing away with the experienced ones he did not select for this friendly game.
“It is a new dawn. I mean, quite a lot of new players, a lot of new faces. But it’s continuity. Bafana Bafana has always been there, we’ve always had the players, so we are just adding to what we’ve had before,” said Williams.
“The guys who’ve come in, they’ve done well over the last few seasons, a lot of guys who deserve it. And like the coach said in his first interview, he is looking at bringing fresh players. So he’s done that, he’s identified the players, and it’s for them to grab the opportunity, so I’m just happy to be part of the team again, and we’re looking forward to it.”
After the Uganda match, Bafana Bafana travel to Harare in September for their 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifier Group G opener against Zimbabwe, before hosting Ghana a few days later.