Vries hits purple patch
Namibian and Maritzburg United goalkeeper, Virgil Vries seems to have put the dark days of making mistakes behind him as he has now displaced former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper, Shuaib Walters as the number one goalkeeper for the Premier League Soccer outfit.
Vries who started the season as a second choice has now played 11 games for his club in the league keeping four clean sheets and conceding just seven goals. He also played one game in the Telecom Knock out.
The 23 year old who enjoyed a stellar week helping his team beat Orlando Pirates 2-1 on Tuesday and drawing 0-0 with University of Pretoria (Amatuks) on Friday has now helped his team collect 11 points from six home games this season to sit fourth on the log on 21 points.
These fortunes are in contrast to what Vries endured when he was playing for the National team. In the past the young goalkeeper has cost Brave Warriors vital matches notably in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Cosafa cup against South Africa when he mishandled the ball which was going outside to put it in his own net. The match eventually ended 2-1 in favour of South Africa.
Fingers were also pointed at him when he failed to handle what seemed to be an easy free kick from Nigeria’s Obi Mikel when Namibia was leading 1-0 late in the game - which eventually put an end to the Brave Warriors’ race of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
Such errors prompted the national coach, Ricardo Mannetti to drop him for the following matches but Vries’ recent heroics means he is likely to get his place black in the national team. In fact if it wasn’t because of Vries’ reflex abilities, Maritzburg could have lost their match against Amatuks on Friday but with the scores level five minutes from time and Amatuks’ Geoffrey Massa launching a thunderous 35-yard shot Vries stretched to make a fingertip save to salvage a draw for his team.
While Vries and his team are climbing the log the same can’t be said about Namibia’s Da costa Angula and Rudolph Bester as their team, Free State Stars were clinically dispatched 2-0 by the champions, Sundowns. While Angula played the entire game Bester had to settle for a place on the bench and despite firing the former Namibian coach, Tom Saintfiet – Free State Stars are still struggling and they find themselves on the wrong side of the log with just four wins from 14 games. The poor form means that Free State Stars are relinquishing in the relegation zone with only Amazulu keeping them from occupying the last position.
Zooming into another Namibian player plying his trade in the PSL has revealed that Ronald Katjijere who played against Vries for Amatuks on Friday although his team has been struggling at least he has been seeing game time.
The same can’t be said about his team though as they lost 2-1 to Amazulu on Wednesday before drawing 0-0 against Maritzburg on Friday. Their form has been somewhat been poor this season managing just to get 14 points from 13 games an average of one point per game from a possible 40.