Ronwen Williams - Fact File

SuperSport’s Impressive Young Star

Ronwen Williams, touted as Bafana Bafana's future number one, has continued to build his reputation in South Africa`s PSL in recent seasons, attracting interest from English side Tottenham Hotspur along the way. However, having just signed a new long-term contract with SuperSport United, the 21-year old had an interview with Sabie Chili about working with Itumeleng Khune, his aspirations for the future and how he keeps himself on his toes.

Personal Information
Full Name:  Ronwen Hayden Williams
Date Of Birth: 21 January 1992
Place of birth: Port Elizabeth

Position: Goalkeeper
Jersey no: 30

Current Club: SuperSport United
2011/12 Nedbank Cup
2012/13 Nedbank Cup runner-up (both with SuperSport), 8 U20 caps

Hi Ron, it`s rare to see such a young goalkeeper play a constant role in a PSL team, and you have been handed the captain’s armband. What sets you apart from other young goalkeepers? I think my consistency really helps me. I believe that I`ve been very consistent over the last three seasons and kept my game at a certain level. I have had my ups and a lot of downs, but I`ve tried to keep a certain level and that made Gavin Hunt and now Cavin Johnson happy. A lot of my teammates believe in me and are happy to have me behind them. Also, I have grown up in the culture of this club. I`ve been here since I was 13. I get it here as I`ve been here half of my life. I understand the style and the mood here. I think that`s also helped me out.

Talking about being at SuperSport for so long, you`ve just signed a new deal there. But did it ever cross your mind to leave the club? There were definitely big clubs interested. No, to be honest, I never heard anything from anyone. I`m just looking forward to enjoying myself at SuperSport and paying them back for what they`ve given me. But I`m very young, especially for a goalkeeper, and I`m happy here. They have just rewarded me with a new contract and that just tells me that they really value me at this club.

What`s it been like working with an experience keeper like Rowen Fernandez? Rowen has helped me a lot, ever since my first day in the first team. He`s always been showing me ways to improve and he`s always pushing me. Also, his presence means that I can`t let my performance drop because he`s always waiting. Both he and Pule are pushing me and keeping me on my toes, it helps me to keep performing.

We hear he`s a bit crazy too. It must help to have characters like him around. Yeah, that helps a lot, he`s very funny and he helps us relax, he`s always cracking jokes.

And what about Alex Heredia? What`s it been like training with him since he came in? It`s been awesome. He comes with a lot of experience, he`s been all over, won a lot of trophies and coached some big clubs and the national team. He helps me a lot and targets specific aspects in me that I need to improve on. Life with him has been great, he`s very easy to approach, and he knows what he wants from me.

Last year your performances helped you break into the Bafana set-up. That must have been pretty special for you. It was really an honor for me when I got the call-up. I was quite shocked, because there are a lot of good goalkeepers in this country, people like Moeneeb Josephs, who is still doing well at Bidvest Wits, so for me to be chosen ahead of some of these stars makes me feel like my hard work is paying off. It`s really nice for a youngster like me to get call-ups, it`s a great feeling and it encourages me to keep pushing myself.

Looking forward, how eager are you to take the next step and move on to playing in Europe? We know that Tottenham Hotspur have first option on you if you do go. It`s every player`s dream to play overseas, and I`m no different, but at the moment I`m just trying to do my best for SuperSport. I`ve heard a lot of positive comments from the guys at Tottenham and it`s nice to know that they`re keeping tabs on me. Knowing that they`re watching drives me on and you never know what might happen in the future.

Would Europe be your only move? Is there no chance of a move within South Africa? Europe is my first option. It may not be Spurs, but it could be somewhere else. At SuperSport we have been doing well in the last few years and we`re not a small team. We might not be able to compare in size to Chiefs or Pirates, but in the last few years we have sometimes done better than them, and I`m very happy at SuperSport United.

Speaking of Europe, you and Khune are not the tallest keepers. Do you think that could halt your progress in the future? It`s very difficult as a keeper, especially in Europe, when they`re looking for tall goalkeepers, however, I do think that we South African goalkeepers make up for it with our reflexes and distribution. Look at Khune for instance, his distribution is brilliant, For me he`s the best in the world in that aspect. We may make a mistake every now and again, but that happens to any goalkeeper, and our reflexes are often better than many in Europe. However, I do think that we South African keepers need to work on collecting crosses because that`s how it goes in Europe. But I don`t think that our size is too negative a factor for us.

Looking more at SuperSport`s season, you have lost out on two trophies already, MTN8 and Telkom Knockout. Does this increase the team`s desire to win the PSL and Nedbank Cup? Of course. Every season the team and the head coach are given a mandate, and we do need to get silverware. It will be seen as a negative season if we don`t get a trophy. Last season we reached two finals. This season we haven`t got to one, so we see that as a step back.

Ronwen, thanks for your time, and enjoy the second half of the season. 
It`s a pleasure.