Itu Khune admits he will have 'to work twice as hard' to win back Bafana No1 jersey from Darren Keet
Itumeleng Khune had the ultimate praise for Darren Keet's superb goalkeeping display after Bafana Bafana beat Libya 2-1 to reach the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon)‚ saying perhaps the Bidvest Wits man would keep possession of the national team gloves "for a long time".
The Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper and Bafana No 1 Khune had to watch the game on a big screen at a function in Sandton because of his long-term shoulder injury.
Khune is only due back in May‚ and it may be touch and go for Egypt 2019 in June and July‚ which Bafana qualified for with a stirring victory in Sfax‚ Tunisia‚ needing only a draw.
Percy Tau scored two spectacular goals.
But before that‚ and also after the goals‚ 29-year-old Bidvest Wits goalkeeper Keet‚ making just his 10th Bafana appearance‚ kept his team in the game with a string of superb saves.
"Ja‚ there were a lot of great performances by individuals.
"But what great saves he made to keep us in the game‚" Khune said of Keet's performance.
Keet's only blemish was giving away the penalty‚ catching Anis Saltou with a trailing foot going up for a high ball‚ that led to an equaliser for Libya by Ahmad Benali in the 66th minute.
Should Khune not recover in time‚ the Wits man's performance will give Bafana coach Stuart Baxter confidence that he has cover at keeper for the Afcon finals.
So impressive was Keet that Khune was asked if his No 1 Bafana jersey is safe‚ a question that would normally be almost unthinkable so commanding has the domination been of one of Africa's best goalkeepers of the Bafana position between the posts.
"It's always great to see all the departments competing and keeping each other on our toes‚" Khune chuckled.
"So‚ that one we will leave to the coach [Stuart Baxter]. I will get back on the field. I will have to work twice as hard to win my No 1 back.
"But Darren Keet did extremely well. I wouldn't be surprised if he keeps the jersey for a long period of time.
"Because I've also travelled along that journey of being the national team No 1 for a number of years.
"But right now it shows that the guys really want this jersey. And competition‚ that's what I like. I welcome it with both hands."