Bafana Bafana

Khune recalls Meyiwa rivalry

2014-10-30 16:00
Itumeleng Khune and Senzo Meyiwa (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Goalkeepers always gave coaches a headache when it came to who to play between the sticks, Kaizer Chiefs captain and former Bafana Bafana captain Itumeleng Khune said on Thursday.

"From the age of 15, we were already battling for the position of number one," Khune told sport fans at the Standard Bank Arena to pay homage to three sporting figures who died in the past week.

"It went on to Bafana Bafana. We gave them headaches. They never knew who to select or put on the bench."

Bafana Bafana captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was shot dead in Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, while visiting his singer girlfriend Kelly Khumalo on Sunday evening. Two men entered the house demanding cellphones and shot him before fleeing.

Former world champion 800m track sensation Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was killed in a car accident in Mpumalanga on Friday. He was on his way to Johannesburg when he lost control of his car.

Welterweight boxer Phindile Mwelase died on Saturday after being in coma for two weeks following a bout.

The service attended by, among others, ANC veteran Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, SA Football Association president Danny Jordaan, and Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba, started nearly an hour late.

Khune spoke fondly of his friend Meyiwa and closest rival. Their rivalry was played out throughout the junior structures of South African football up to the national team.

He said the coaches would never know who to play. The entire squad would be written on the board except for the position of goalkeeper.

"They would ask the players who they wanted to be in goal but they were also confused. Goalkeeper coach John Tlale used to joke that he wished he could cut me in half and cut Senzo in half, join the two and let us play," he said.

Khune said they lived together while they were still juniors at their clubs. Khune said the day he got promoted to the senior team at Chiefs, he walked from Mayfair, Johannesburg, to Auckland Park to inform Meyiwa of the good news.

"I got there and I told the good news. I then bought him KFC. Later when he was promoted, he came to me and guess what, he bought me KFC to celebrate. We both wanted to play, we showed character," said Khune.

He said when he was on the sidelines watching Meyiwa flourish with the national team, he asked himself what would happen when he regained fitness.
After much thinking, he decided he would let the team be and play second choice to Meyiwa.

"I would have asked coach Shakes Mashaba to let Senzo continue as number one and as captain. I would like to thank coach Shakes Mashaba for believing in Senzo because we always dream of representing our country and being number one for our nation," he said.

Team-mate Lucky Lekgwathi said the legacy that Meyiwa had left was immeasurable and they would live with the fond memories for the rest of their lives.


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