JOHANNESBURG. — Bafana Bafana hero Ronwen Williams is doing it for the brother he lost.
Four penalty saves, in the AFCON quarter-final against Cote d’Ivoire, turned Williams into a hero in South Africa.
But, his heart still hurts for the brother who is no longer around to celebrate with him.
“Every time I achieve something, I look up to the sky. Even during penalty shootouts, you’ll see me uttering stuff,” he said.
“That’s me speaking to him. We’re in this together. As much as he is not here physically, I know he’s got my back.
“He is there watching over me every step of the way. Wherever he is, I know he is proud.”
Saturday would have been one of those days as he saved four penalty kicks to help Bafana Bafana progress to the semi-finals of AFCON 2023.
His football journey bears the message that one must constantly dig in to overcome the hurdles one faces every day in the quest for glory.
Former SuperSport youth coach Kwanele Kopo saw a boy full of promise recoil into a shell only to emerge with a more potent force.
He recounts the day it happened.
They had just arrived in Cape Town to play in the Bayhill Under-19 tournament when the news came through.
Williams had to leave the squad and go home immediately. They would not see the youngster full of promise for another three months.
“After he buried his brother, he didn’t want to return to the academy; he didn’t want to continue playing football.
“I phoned him daily, telling him the best he could do for his late brother was play football and do something he loved in his memory.
“It took three months to get Ronwen back at Supersport, and even then, he didn’t go straight into training, only doing so later on, but once he came into playing, he shot up, doing exceptionally well and after that season that he was promoted to the first team,” Kopo tells FARPost.
Forget that Sherwyn Naicker was ahead of him in the pecking order.
Williams took no prisoners.
He was unstoppable in his renewed resolve to succeed.
Being the youngest of three kids, Williams looked up to his brother, and his death shattered him and made him want to quit everything. — FARPost.