A key part of Celtic’s story
Bronkhorst has groomed a host of top-class keepers
WHEN Bloemfontein Celtic play Ajax Cape Town in a PSL fixture at the Cape Town Stadium tomorrow ( kick- off 3.30pm), sitting unobtrusively on the bench, alongside the Free State side’s coach Clinton Larsen, will be Capetonian Andre Bronkhorst.
Bronkhorst is Celtic’s goalkeepercoach and, more importantly, in the PSL, he is considered among the best emerging practitioners of his art.
Last month, Bronkhorst’s success in his chosen career was rewarded when he was called up to be the Bafana Bafana goalkeeper- coach for the friendly internationals against Ivory Coast and Zimbabwe.
The Bafana call has always been Bronkhorst’s main ambition – and now he just wants to continue the hard work and, hopefully, some time in the future, be given the national job on a more permanent basis.
Bronkhorst is from Bonteheuwel, where as an amateur he played goalkeeper for Bluegum Athletic, before joining Santos in the now- defunct Federation Professional League.
After unity in football, and on retiring from the game, he gradually made his way into coaching.
He cut his professional coaching teeth at Santos. He was Gordon Igesund’s goalkeeper-coach when Santos won the PSL title in the 2001-2002 season. When Igesund left to join neighbours Ajax, he took Bronkhorst along.
At Ajax, the goalkeeper-coach was able to extend his knowledge and certification in the sport, also spending two weeks at Ajax Amsterdam, working with, and picking up valuable knowledge from, the Dutch club’s goalkeepercoach, Fred Grim.
Bronkhorst returned briefly to Santos before Celtic came along with a nice offer to lure him to Bloemfontein.
He has coached some of the best goalkeepers in the PSL – and, always, he has added to their game.
When he was at Santos, goalkeeper Andre Arendse was the PSL’S Player of the Year in the title-winning season.
At Ajax, he inspired current Orlando Pirates and Bafana goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs. Under Bronkhorst’s care, Josephs was the PSL’S Players’ Player of the Year and reserve goalkeeper Andre Petim was the Bayhill Goalkeeper of the Tournament, the popular Under-19 event.
He has also coached Wayne Roberts at Santos and Hans Vonk at Ajax.
At Celtic, he found goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb, and his guidance saw the Cameroonian winning the PSL’S Goalkeeper of the Year last season.
“I’m looking forward to the game against my former team, Ajax,” said Bronkhorst. “They inspired me to achieve greater things. I’m sure the playing fields will be level, though, for the match. Both teams will do their utmost to achieve maximum points.
“At Celtic, we have been very consistent over the last few seasons, but like any team we always strive to do better.
“Ajax are always tough opponents and every team has a different way to approach playing against them. We are no different, and we will have a plan to combat their strengths.”
And that Bafana experience? How did Bronkhorst feel about achieving one of his life’s goals?
“It was a great experience, which I will never forget,” said Bronkhorst. “(Bafana coach) Pitso Mosimane and his technical team welcomed me with open arms.
“The training sessions we had were conducted in a professional manner. As the goalkeeper-coach, I worked with the Bafana keepers Moeneeb Josephs and Wayne Sandilands. I was honoured to be in the midst of South Africa’s best players and representing my country against Ivory coast and Zimbabwe.
“But my most precious memory was when the team’s captain Steven Pienaar got everyone involved with Bafana to make a donation to a children’s home. It was a very big amount, undisclosed, but the contribution is certain to bring joy to many.”
This is the essence of Andre Bronkhorst. He’s not a man who seeks the headlines; he does not crave recognition. He just goes about his business in the background, working quietly and efficiently, to make sure that the goalkeepers he prepares are the best they can be. As a football club, you cannot ask for more.
INSPIRING THE KEEPERS: Capetonian Andre Bronkhorst is goalie coach at Bloemfontein Celtic.