Bruce Bvuma, the latest descendent from the best goalkeeping department of all time in the PSL era, has vowed to represent the famous gold and back jersey of Kaizer Chiefs with distinction.
It’s been four breath-taking weeks for Bvuma. For the first time in his professional career, he’s made three successive appearances for the senior team, two in the Absa Premiership and one in the Nedbank Cup.
Before that, his last start was in the first half of the season, which succeeded his two appearances from three seasons ago when he was promoted.
Upon his promotion by then coach Steve Komphela, Bvuma became the club’s second goalkeeper to graduate from the youth ranks after captain Itumeleng Khune to join the current generation.
But his graduation then was merely to play third fiddle to Khune and Brilliant Khuzwayo.
However, fast forward three seasons later, following the departure of Khuzwayo, injury to Khune, the blunders of Virgil Vries, and the ineligibility of Daniel Akpeyi, and Bvuma is the only solution to the club’s goalkeeping troubles.
And the 23-year-old is ready to grab the opportunity by the horns.
“Playing for Kaizer Chiefs is special when you are a goalkeeper,” Bvuma said at the Naturena Village.
“As you all know, Chiefs is known for producing the best goalkeepers throughout the years, so as soon as you sign a professional contract with the club, you already have the pressure.
“There are thousands of goalkeepers that wish to be in the position that I am in at the moment – vying to be in the No 1 goalkeeping spot. (And just like them), I hope to be the No 1. So I need to play more games, learn and grow as a player.”
In the 2016/17 season, Bvuma got a harsh reality check in the top flight as he conceded three goals on debut in their 3-2 loss to Cape Town City.
But a lot has happened since then, for both Bvuma and City. Amakhosi are enduring a three-and-a-half season trophy drought, while the Citizens have made three final appearances and won two titles – the Telkom Knockout and MTN8.
The two teams are set to square off in the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals at Mbombela Stadium tomorrow (3pm kick-off), and Chiefs’ hopes will be pinned on Bvuma.
With Khune having introduced himself to elite football with match-winning performances in Chiefs’ 2007 Telkom Knockout triumph, Bvuma will not be looking any further for inspiration.
“It won’t be an easy game. They’ve been doing well in the league and performing,” Bvuma said.
“It’s going to be tough but I still believe that we have soldiers here. We haven’t won a trophy in four years, and we owe our supporters, families and ourselves.
“Of course, I’ve been given a responsibility but with God by my side, I believe that we are going to be victorious.”
Bvuma will be in Nelspruit to stop the Citizens’ fiery attack, not as the boy they toyed with in Cape Town but as a Bafana Bafana international after recently being called up for the national team’s crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Libya.
Bvuma played third fiddle to Darren Keet and Ronwen Williams during Bafana’s 2-1 win but he acknowledges that the wealth of experience gained was invaluable.
“I’ve learnt a lot from them (Keet and Williams).
They welcomed me well in the national team. And when I started working with them, I realised why they are regulars in the national team,” Bvuma concluded.
Bruce Bvuma (Kaizer Chiefs) v Peter Leeuwenburgh (CT City)
The rivalry that will be in the goalkeeping department at Mbombela Stadium can be summed as the “David versus Goliath” clash.
Bvuma, who’ll wear the cap of David, will be carrying the hopes of thousands of spectators who’ll be packing the arena to the rafters and those who’ll be glued on the TV screens – both rooting for Chiefs to progress to the last rounds of the competition.
On the other hand, his counterpart Leeuwenburgh, the man who has the imaginary Goliath physique, has been here before.
The giant keeper from the Netherlands is one of the reasons the Citizens are chasing a treble this season.
He was their hero in the penalty shootouts of the MTN8 semi-finals and final.
On the other hand, he’s been churning out the goods for the Citizens in the league, as they are fourth with 40 points, three adrift of leaders and defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Independent on Saturday