Promising young Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeping prospect, Reyaad Pieterse, made his official league debut for the the club during Chiefs' 4-1 victory over Polokwane City last night (November 27). The 21-year-old came on at half-time after Itumeleng Khune was said to have collected a slight hamstring niggle.
The former Shamrock Rovers shot-stopper gave a good account of himself and produced some well-executed routine saves. The most impressive being a shot he palmed away from the right corner of Chiefs' goal. He appeared relaxed, composed and focused during his impressive 45 minute cameo. In addition, Pieterse could see more game time in future if Khune doesn't recover from the knock he sustained.
The player revealed the jitters he experienced when he realized he was going to get a chance to play against City. He also explained to the club's official website how he grew in confidence as the game went on.
He said, "It was a nerve-wrecking experience walking on to the pitch. Getting my first start and filling the shoes of captain, Itumeleng Khune. I was scared but at least the technical team and Khune helped me to settle down. Though I was scared, I grew in confidence immediately after taking the pitch."
Pieterse added, “My first touch was a goal kick. I just wanted to make an accurate and a safe kick, nothing fancy and extraordinary. My second touch was off a free kick which I saved. The goalkeeper coach (Dennis Rudel) advised me to make positional decisions based on the wet weather conditions and that helped me a lot. I was disappointed, on two occasions when I miscued my clearances. I wanted to play it safe when my defenders played back passes. Our defenders (Tefu Mashamaite and Erick Mathoho) encouraged me to stay calm and that helped with my confidence.”
The exciting prospect also opened up about how the fans had encouraged him, “The supporters were helpful as well. I heard them in the background cheering, ‘Keeper! Keeper!’ A few of them came to me after the game and were telling me, ‘Keeper, you did well’. There is still a lot of work to do. I have a long career ahead of me. I will continue to listen and learn from the coaches as a way of improving my game.”
Chiefs' next test is against Free State Stars on Saturday (November 30) and if Khune doesn't pass a late fitness test before the clash, Pieterse could be called on to start.
The Siya crew will continue to monitor the situation.