‘No-brainer stay­ing with tro­phy hunt­ing United’

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MAZOLA MOLEFE de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons TP Mazembe from the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo and Guinea’s Horoya), but we still want to go out there and win to reach the next round,” the keeper said. “We are not re­laxed at all. When (Stu­art) Baxter was here, he dr

RON­WEN Wil­liams, who ended spec­u­la­tion link­ing him with a move from Su­perS­port United to Or­lando Pi­rates by agree­ing to ex­tend his stay at the Tsh­wane club, said it was a ‘no-brainer’ putting pen to pa­per on a five-year con­tract with the reign­ing Ned­bank Cup cham­pi­ons.

The goal­keeper will be be­tween the sticks for to­mor­row’s fi­nal Caf Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup group phase clash at home against CF Mounana of Gabon with his fu­ture firmly se­cured as Su­perS­port look to qual­ify for the quar­ter-fi­nals of the con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tion.

“It (the ru­mour of a move to Pi­rates) has been there since the sad pass­ing of Senzo Meyiwa three years ago, but I have never wanted to leave this club or ever had any doubts,” Wil­liams, 25, ex­plained his de­ci­sion. “They have been good to me. A few years ago when I lost my brother, they were amaz­ing to­wards me that time and gave me a lot of time off to re­cover and over­come it – they helped me fi­nan­cially as well. It shows the faith they have in me and I am re­pay­ing them now by com­mit­ting to stay here for five more years. We have al­ways had good and pos­i­tive vibes be­tween us and we con­tinue to show that loy­alty.”

Wil­liams ar­gued that what has kept him at Su­perS­port is the con­sis­tent chal­lenge for sil­ver­ware ev­ery sea­son, as ev­i­denced by the 2016/17 cam­paign in which they ended in fifth place, hav­ing dropped off the ti­tle race in the fi­nal weeks and also fought to re­tain the Ned­bank Cup, be­com­ing the first side to do so in the last decade.

“If the club wants me to stick around for the rest of my life, I am happy to do so,” said a player who joined Mat­sat­santsa when he was just 12-years-old.

“My fam­ily is happy, I am happy and the club is ob­vi­ously happy. We chal­lenge for tro­phies ev­ery sea­son, so they have never given me a rea­son to leave. The club has proved the change in men­tal­ity in terms of want­ing to win things and even in the con­ti­nent, we don’t just want Mamelodi Sun­downs to be the only club do­ing so on the con­ti­nent. You can see our ap­proach from the pre­vi­ous sea­son un­der coach Stu­art Baxter. We want to push our­selves and see how far we can go.”

The next level, then, would be to try get past Mounana at the Lu­cas Moripe Sta­dium to­mor­row af­ter­noon to reach the quar­ter­fi­nals of the Con­fed­er­a­tion Cup. Su­perS­port thrashed the team from Gabon 5-3 away in May, and Mounana will play the re­turn fix­ture al­ready elim­i­nated from the com­pe­ti­tion, per­haps mak­ing it eas­ier for the South Africans to edge past them.

“They have been the weak­est side in the group (which also in­cludes

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