A key part of Celtic’s story

Bronkhorst has groomed a host of top-class keep­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - ROD­NEY REIN­ERS

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.

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