Wayne Sandilands sympathises with his Kaizer Chiefs counterparts Daniel Akpeyi and Itumeleng Khune, who have both recently been under the spotlight ahead of facing Orlando Pirates in the Soweto Derby on Saturday.
Akpeyi has been first choice for much of the current season, though Khune’s return to fitness – as well as an error that led to a goal in Chiefs’ 2-1 defeat to Maritzburg United earlier this month – has meant that Akpeyi’s place as No.1 has been questioned.
Sandilands is all too familiar with that having himself been criticised over the years as Pirates also seemed unsure of who their preferred goalkeeper was.
But the 36-year-old is enjoying a purple patch at the moment and is coach Josef Zinnbauer’s pick between the posts.
“You have to focus on your work, and your training as well as what’s in your control. You can’t control what everybody is saying or thinking or what the coach might be doing,” said Sandilands when asked how keepers handle uncertainty.
“If you performing well at training and showing your confidence then obviously the coach sees that and it might influence his decision. It’s a hard place, but as a professional you have to dig deep within yourself, have character and be strong.”
He said mistakes are part of the game, though those from goalies are usually magnified as they are the last line of defence.
“Errors are in football and we are all human beings – there’s no person that doesn’t do that. I suppose it’s your own perception of that mistake, you either allow that negative talk to be a focal point in your life or you chose to get on with your work and know that it’s opinion-based. As a professional you just have to put your head down and focus on your work. That’s where character is being built. They are experienced goalkeepers and I am sure they have their own process at the club,” Sandilands explained.
Story by @superjourno