Captain Ronwen Williams of South Africa during the International Friendly match between South Africa and Namibia. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)
- Bafana Bafana captain Ronwen Williams said they’ve got a hot rivalry on their hands when they face Zimbabwe in Harare on Friday.
- Several of Zimbabwe’s players ply their trade in the DStv Premiership and are key players at their respective clubs.
- Williams is confident that they can qualify for the 2022 World Cup.
Bafana Bafana goalkeeper and captain Ronwen Williams said Friday’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe in Harare will be an intense challenge because of the familiarity of the players.
Two of Williams’s SuperSport United team-mates – Onismor Bhasera and Kuda Mahachi – are in the Zimbabwe squad South Africa will be squaring off against.
The likes of Orlando Pirates’s Terrence Dzvukamanja and Kaizer Chiefs’ Khama Billiat are also part of the Zimbabwe squad, giving what is a storied rivalry that dates back to 16 August 1992 quite the domestic feel.
Williams said they know what they need to do against Zimbabwe, but it won’t be easy for them.
“It’s a rivalry and once it was announced, we all talked about it. Everyone wants to beat South Africa,” Williams said.
“It’s going to be a challenge because we know each other very well. Three quarters of their team play here so they know us well.
“We know what to do. We know how to beat them and we’ve done it before. They’ve beaten us before so it’s a new ball game now.”
Williams also felt that travel restrictions that have been bothering other teams can work to their advantage.
While SA didn’t quite utilise that advantage when they drew 1-1 against a weakened Ghana side earlier this year, Williams was confident that they can qualify.
“We can qualify, especially when you look at the challenges that the other teams are having with travel restrictions,” Williams said.
“We can actually use that to our advantage.”
Having assumed the captaincy, Williams said he has an even bigger role to play as a senior player.
“I’m a big boy now. I have played my part and I’m one of the more experienced guys now,” Williams said.
“I played behind one of the best goalkeepers this country has ever produced. I worked with him for eight years and I learned so much from him.
“For the first six years, I didn’t play. I sat there getting experience from the bench and in the last three years, I’ve been the number one and I think I have done fairly well.”