Keet heads the ‘keeper queue

The Sunday Independent - - SPORT - MI­NENHLE MKHIZE mi­[email protected]

BID­VEST Wits goal-min­der Darren Keet is favourite to take over from the in­jured Itume­leng Khune when Bafana Bafana lock horns with Libya in a cru­cial Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fier.

Bafana need a point to book their ticket to Egypt, while Libya need max­i­mum points to qual­ify for Af­con.

The na­tions square off on March 23 in Egypt. They shared the spoils in the first leg at Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium in Dur­ban.

Khune has been ruled out for six months af­ter sus­tain­ing a shoul­der in­jury.

Bafana coach Stu­art Bax­ter has been con­sis­tent with his se­lec­tion in the goal­keep­ing depart­ment but an in­jury to Khune will force him to call a re­place­ment for the coun­try’s in­cum­bent shot-stop­per.

Ron­wen Wil­liams is likely to earn an­other call-up and is set to deputise for Keet be­tween the sticks.

The big ques­tion is who will be the third goal­keeper.

The bat­tle is among Siyabonga Mpontshane of Or­lando Pi­rates, AmaZulu’s Siyabonga Mbatha and Nkosingiphile Gumede of La­montville Golden Ar­rows.

Bax­ter doesn’t have a lot of op­tions. Most teams in the Pre­mier Soc­cer League boast for­eign­ers in their goal­keep­ing de­part­ments.

De­fend­ing league cham­pi­ons Mamelodi Sun­downs have Denis Onyango from Uganda and Kennedy Mweene from Zam­bia, while Cape Town City pos­sess Peter Leeuwen­burg (from Hol­land).

Polok­wane City have Zim­bab­wean Ge­orge Chigova in their last line of de­fence and Mar­itzburg United rely on Richard Ofori from Ghana.

Ta­puwa Kap­ini com­mands the num­ber one po­si­tion for High­lands Park and Free State Stars have shown faith in Badra Ali San­gare of Ivory Coast, while Baroka FC have found their new hero in Elvis Chipezeze from Zim­babwe.

So Bax­ter will have to look at Mpontshane, Gumede and Mbatha to com­plete his goal­keep­ing depart­ment, which is likely to be led by Keet. LEEDS United have re­minded head coach Marcelo Bielsa of the “in­tegrity and hon­esty” the club is built on af­ter the Ar­gen­tine ad­mit­ted send­ing one of his coach­ing staff to spy on Derby County ahead of their Cham­pi­onship match on Fri­day.

Keet has been con­sis­tent this sea­son for Wits. He has con­ceded the least num­ber of goals af­ter 17 matches. Keet has let in 12 goals and has kept eight clean sheets and will head into Bafana camp brim­ming with con­fi­dence.

Keet is also ex­pe­ri­enced, hav­ing played in the Af­con and in con­ti­nen­tal com­pe­ti­tions for the Clever Boys.

Bafana have con­ceded one goal in the Af­con qual­i­fiers. They have kept four clean sheets in five matches and will need one of those if they are se­ri­ous about go­ing to Egypt.

Bafana are sec­ond with nine points af­ter five games, one point be­hind the Su­per Eagles of Nige­ria, who have al­ready se­cured their place in Egypt.

Bafana missed out on the last Af­con in Gabon and will be look­ing to make it this time around in Egypt, es­pe­cially af­ter fail­ing to book a place in the World Cup in Rus­sia last year.

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