Pretoria – Before up-and-coming soccer star Ronwen Williams came into the limelight, he had hit rock bottom and was ready to throw in the towel.
The youngster from Port Elizabeth was at the SuperSport United academy but, following a tragedy in the family, wanted to quit.
Fortunately, one man made a concerted effort to ensure that the talented young goalkeeper was not lost before his career could take off.
Today the cockles of the heart of the man who talked him into staying are warmed by the progress the player, now 21, has made. SuperSport youth coach Kwanele Kopo, who coached the rising goalkeeper, recalls the day he called the dejected youngster.
“There was a period where I had to call Ronwen every day because he wanted to quit. He wanted to stay in Port Elizabeth with his family after he lost someone very close to him. I said to him that for every bad thing, God has a purpose and something better,” said Kopo.
Williams who joined SuperSport at the tender age of 13, took to heart the words of his coach. He shrugged off his disappointments and now his name is mentioned among those on whom the future of the country’s football may rest.
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund – who has called up Williams for observation with the national team – has punted Williams as a player for the future. The sight of Williams makes saves has brought a sense on fulfillment to Kopo.
“I look back with pride. Every time that he does well and wins Man of the Match awards, it reminds me of the time I had to call him and encourage him not to give up,” said Kopo.
“At a personal level, it touches me. I get a bit emotional when I look back. I wonder where would he be and what would he be doing had he stopped (playing football).
“Today he is one of the best youngsters in the country,” said Kopo under whose tutelage Williams worked his way up to where he is today.
Williams, who was named Absa Premiership Young Player of the Season in 2011/12, has produced wonderful displays since he made the SuperSport number one jersey his. Praises and countless Man of the Match accolades usually follow his performances.
However despite his star rising, Kopo says the young SA international must continue to work on his game.
“The thing is he has done well and that way people don’t see his weaknesses. He is still learning and growing,” said the man who has coached the likes of Thabiso Nkoana, Thandani Ntshumayelo and many others.
“We have to be careful of pushing him (Williams) early. We must not put him under pressure. I think he has a good head on his shoulders. We have to be patient with him.
“We’re proud to have him especially at this time in a country were we are criticised about development… “Hopefully he will go on to play in Europe.”
Though Williams has put on great performances for Matsatsantsa A Pitori, Igesund has called him to train with the team that will play in the 2014 World Cup qualifier against Central African Republic.
Before that Williams has to do duty with SuperSport in Angola, where they meet Petro de Luanda FC in Luanda in the CAF Confederation Cup fixture tomorrow. – Pretoria News