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"We need to change our mentality" - New Bafana captain Williams

Ronwen Williams, Bafana Bafana captain
(Image credit: Backpagepix)

Newly appointed Bafana Bafana captain Ronwen Williams says he is looking forward to the pressures of leading the national team while admitting their mentality needs to change as they target success on the field.

Hugo Broos named the SuperSport United goalkeeper as captain, with newly signed Al Ahly superstar Percy Tau the vice-captain for the two Fifa World Cup 2022 qualifiers against Zimbabwe and Ghana this coming week.

After failing to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations and the subsequent appointment of Broos, the start of the qualifiers represents a new era for Bafana as they look to seal a spot at the World Cup for the first time since hosting the event in 2010.

Broos has often spoke of his philosophy of building a squad with young players and has done just that to face Zimbabwe and Ghana, leaving out a number of former stalwarts.

"I think Rowen has the experience, he is a man that can communicate, that’s very important. On the other side, we have Percy, he is obviously more quiet. He has experience of playing in several European leagues and has the respect of all the players," Broos said at the announcement of his new captains.

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Williams (29) made his national team debut back in 2014 against Brazil and, despite just making 19 appearances over the seven-year period, has gained valuable experience in being part of the squad. At the same time, he also developed into a leader at club level having been named as captain of SuperSport United.

“I have been part of the national team set-up for the past eight years. I think I have gained valuable experience over the years. It is a massive responsibility leading not only the team, but the whole country. That’s how I see it, but it’s something I am looking forward to,” Williams told media at Dobsonville.

“I am a big boy now. I am proud to be here. It’s been hard work and dedication to get here. Most importantly, we want success. We are obviously still disappointed that we are not at Afcon. It’s still at the back of my mind because I was obviously a part of that campaign. But we need to put that aside and focus on what is ahead of us. We start on a positive note and need to change our mentality.

“I learned from one of the most experienced guys. Itumeleng was one of our best goalkeepers and I worked with him for many years. I learned so much from him and that’s what I took from every camp. I have learned over the years and hopefully I can help the younger guys now,” he said.

“For the six years I didn’t really play. I was on bench learning, gaining experience. I know how the younger guys are feeling. Obviously, they have nerves and want to impress. It’s my job to help them keep calm. There is a reason why the coach picked them because of their performances. I just need to make them realise they must play their normal game, and not try to impress because that will come naturally.”

Bafana come up against neighbours Zimbabwe on Friday afternoon at 3pm in Harare, before hosting Ghana on Monday at 6pm.