#TuksFootball: “Playing as a goalkeeper means you got the best position on the field,” says Thakasani Mbanjwa, AmaTuks goalkeeper.

Posted on June 15, 2022

90 minutes of faultless football, or to be more exact, a draw, is what AmaTuks need if they want to qualify for the Premier League.

As things stand, AmaTuks tops the PSL Promotion playoff standings with five points after three games. Swallows is second with four points. Tomorrow in Atteridgeville, the two teams will clash in what undoubtedly will be a do-or-die encounter. The team that wins will play DStv Premiership football.

The first encounter between the two teams ended in a 1-1 draw. Tuks has, however, managed to beat Swallows in a friendly game earlier this year. The last time Tuks played in the Premier League was in 2016.

AmaTuks's goalkeeper, Thakazani Mbanjwa, is confident that he and his teammates can make "history". 

"If we can play as we did in that first 30 minutes against Swallows in our first encounter, we can go all the way. The most important thing will be not to 'fluff' any scoring opportunity. We should have scored more goals in the first game.

According to Mbanjwa, he is the noisiest member of the team. 

"I have no choice. Playing as a goalkeeper means you got the best position on the field. I can see the whole time what our opponents are planning. So I got to ensure my teammates are in the correct places to counter and disrupt their tactics before they could have a shot at goal. 

"So my biggest challenge is to be focussed every minute. A mere second's lapse of concentration could turn out to be costly."

The 26-year-old Mbanjwa got to finetune his football skills from a young age at Tuks. 

"I was 11 when I first played for Tuks. At first, I was a defender, but when I moved on to play for Tuks's under-13 team, one of the coaches suggested that I should move to the goalkeeper. I never regretted doing so. I played for Tuks's junior teams until I was 18. 

"I was at Wits and then SuperSport United for the next few years. I did not get to play that much for SuperSport. Still, I would be forever grateful for Andre Arendse's guidance. I am the goalkeeper I am today because of him. He is the one who got me to understand the more refined skills of what it takes to be a good goalkeeper."

Asked if he has a favourite team he supports, Mbanjwa said he follows a straightforward rule.

"My favourite team is the team I am playing for. At the moment, it is to me 'Tuks of Niks'. 

"As far as I am concerned, AmaTuks deserve to play in the Premier League. It is the club with one of the best infrastructures in South Africa. For the last year, we had been a team on a mission. We wanted to win the GladAfrica Championship. Unfortunately, we just missed out on doing so. We ended up being second. It does not matter. We are still in with a chance to play in the Premier League. That is all that matters.

- Author Wilhelm De Swardt

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