Pirates prepared to face penalty-saving expert Williams if Nedbank Cup final reaches shootouts

Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro says his side is well prepared to face the penalty-saving expert Ronwen Williams should the Nedbank Cup final against Mamelodi Sundowns go to shootouts.

This will be the second cup final between the two South African giants this season as the Buccaneers downed the Brazilians on penalties in September to lift the MTN8 trophy.

In that match, Pirates goalkeeper Sipho Chaine stood tall, saving three of four attempts, while Williams was unable to save any. This ultimately sealed the victory for the Buccaneers.

In spite of that, Williams boasts a strong record in penalty situations, having saved 14 penalties this season for both club and country, including during shootouts.

The Spanish coach dismissed the notion of penalties being a mere lottery, emphasizing the importance of team preparation. 

He highlighted their training regimen, which involves working with both penalty-takers and goalkeepers, as well as analysing past performances to maximize their chances of success.

Jose Riveiro says penalties aren’t a lottery

“As I said before, it’s one of the games (penalties) that can be played if nobody wins, it’s one of the scenarios possible in the final,” said Riveiro during the pre-match press conference on Thursday.

“Usually, we try to prevent it to have that experience during the week with the takers with the ones that are going to be probably between the poles, and with that responsibility.

“It’s also part of the personnel within the technical staff to analyse everything in the past. We used to say, it’s a lottery but it’s not a lottery anymore, it’s one of the scenarios you can prevent, you can train, you can coach or advise on the day. 

“And the previous work that you did during the week is gonna play a big role in that situation.”

While acknowledging Williams' impressive penalty-saving abilities, Riveiro also credits Chaine for his strong performance in the MTN8 shootout.

“And what can I say about Ronwen [is what I can say] about the performance of Chaine in the last time when he was in that situation. Like you said, Ronwen during the season was showing the level that he has in his goalkeeping. He was remarkable of course,” added Riveiro.

Williams was a hero for Bafana Bafana saving four spot-kicks against Cape Verde at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) to help SA reach the semi-finals. He made two stops in the shootout again against DR Congo in the third-place play-off to secure a bronze medal for the Southern African nation.

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Nkosiyabuya Sithole

Nkosiyabuya Sithole, a young and rising sports journalist based in Durban, South Africa, harbors a deep passion for football. Nevertheless, he aspires to become a well-rounded journalist, adept in various areas of the field.

Nkosi's career began in 2020, working as a home-based writer during the COVID-19 pandemic. He has since written for various websites, including Briefly News, FiND-iT News, and The South African. Attending live sporting events is a particular pleasure for him, as they provide opportunities for interaction with sports personalities.

Outside of the office, he's a God-fearing and affable young man.