Bafana legend and Bidvest Wits goalkeeper coach Andre Arendse recalls the time he made history, when he became the oldest player to feature in an Absa Premiership match.
Arendse, 52, made history in the 2012/13 season, when he came out of retirement aged 45 to feature for an injury-ravaged Clever Boys side.
Clive Barker’s goalkeeping department been hit by a spate of injuries to the likes of Jackson Mabokgwane, Ryan Harrison and Emile Baron. With only inexperienced Jethren Barr to call upon at at the time, ‘The Dog’ made a call.
He threw Arendse, who was working as his goalkeeper coach, into the deep end four years after retiring from the game in 2009, when he registered him as a player. The former Bafana goalie recalls how he dreaded lacing up once again.
“Clive Barker and myself sat down in his office and we had to come up with a solution. I said to Clive, 'Don’t make me make a decision, you make the call and let me know what you want to do'. So he said, ‘I want you to play.’
"To be honest, I dreaded the idea of having to play again because I had been retired for about four years. So I had done no professional training, nothing at a high level at all and when you get to the age of 45 you are not seeing the ball as you used to see it.
“I literally hated that I had to go and do it, but it was a call from the club, it was for the team and any pro would answer the call and that is what I did,” Arendse said on the Bidvest Wits’ official website.
The call proved to be worth the risk for Barker, as Arendse’s last two matches as a professional ended up in 2-1 and 3-1 victories over both AmaZulu and the University of Pretoria respectively.