Goal takes a look at whether or not Khuzwayo made the right decision by joining another Soweto giants
On Monday, Orlando Pirates announced nine new signings as Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s side beefed up its squad ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
The season will see the Soweto giants participate in five major competitions, namely; the Premier Soccer League (PSL), Telkom Knockout Cup, MTN8 Cup, Caf Champions League and the Nedbank Cup.
Bucs’ marquee signing is arguably, Brilliant Nhlanhla Khuzwayo, who will officially join the club from their arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs next month following the expiration of his contract with Amakhosi at the end of the current month.
The highly-rated shot-stopper, who has the ability to become one of the best goalkeepers in the country, arrives at the Houghton-based club hoping to secure regular game time and take his game to another level having left Chiefs as a frustrated man.
At Amakhosi, Khuzwayo was battling for game time due to the presence of Itumeleng Khune, who is undoubtedly the best keeper in the country and one of the top shot-stoppers on the African continent.
Khuzwayo had joined Chiefs from AmaZulu FC in 2012 as a 22-year-old promising keeper and he spent six seasons with the club – making only 27 league appearances during that period with Khune the preferred choice ahead of him.
During the recent 2017/18 season, the Umlazi-born player opened contract talks with Amakhosi and he made a proposal to the Soweto giants management about the policy of the rotation between him and Khune.
However, the Naturena-based club could not offer such guarantee and he decided to leave the club as a free agent at the end of last season. Bucs have since snapped him up – beating their Gauteng rivals Mamelodi Sundowns to his signature.
At Bucs, Khuzwayo is now expected to compete with three experienced keepers in Siyabonga Mpontshane, Wayne Sandilands and Jackson Mabokgwane, who have all played for the South African senior national team, Bafana Bafana.
Many have tipped Khuzwayo to walk straight into the Pirates starting line-up and make the number one spot his own despite his lack of regular game time at Amakhosi which could be to his disadvantage.
However, one big advantage that the former Thanda Royal Zulu FC keeper has is that he will get the opportunity to start pre-season training with his new team-mates and improve his match sharpness ahead of the 2018/19 season.
Sandilands, 34, and Mabokgwane, 30, were both given the chance to become the club’s first-choice keeper last season, but they proved to be error-ridden shot-stoppers, and Khuzwayo is most likely to face stiff competition from Mpontshane.
Article continues below
Khuzwayo’s agility and composure could give him the edge over Mpontshane, who is blessed with good reflexes, but the 32-year-old player lacks the consistency needed to remain the club’s first-choice keeper for a long period of time.
The move to Pirates will definitely prove to be a smart one for Khuzwayo if the former South Africa under-23 international grabs his opportunity with both hands and he would definitely go on to reach his true potential at the Soweto giants.
At the age of 28, the lanky keeper knows that he’s at his peak. His talent and hard work are essential for his success at Bucs and he has what it takes to become the club’s first-choice for many years to come, and also challenge Khune for the No.1 spot at Bafana Bafana.