Afcon: Bafana Bafana's Darren Keet refuses to take his eye off the ball

Darren Keet - Bafana Bafana
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The Bafana keeper says he was never distracted by a lack of game time at the Clever Boys towards the end of the 2018/19 season

Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Darren Keet is enjoying the healthy competition and is relishing working under goalkeeper coach Andre Arendse, as the national team prepares for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Meanwhile, the outgoing Bidvest Wits keeper says that the lack of game time at club level towards the end of the season has not destabilised his preparation for the continental tournament. 

“We are enjoying the competition. Obviously working with Andre it’s fantastic. The hard work and fun never stops,” Keet was quoted as saying by The Star.

“Bruce [Bvuma] is a nice guy to work with and working with Ronwen [Williams] is always a pleasure. We enjoy the hard work, competition but we definitively want to have a lot of fun while we are at it."

With regular goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune having suffered a long-term injury, subsequently ruling him out of contention, Keet was chosen by coach Stuart Baxter to man the posts against Libya in their final Afcon qualifier in March.

The Cape Town-born keeper rose to the occasion and produced a scintillating performance to help Bafana secure a 2-1 win, but he would later find himself on the bench at his club.

“After we came back [from Tunisia against Libya], I played the game against Chippa United in the Nedbank Cup and conceded nine goals which include the penalty shoot-outs, which wasn’t ideal,” he reflected.

It is reported that the club’s hierarchy had informed coach Gavin Hunt to bench the former KV Kortrijk keeper.

“But it is what it is because the club didn’t want me to play because I didn’t want to sign a new contract, despite having known a long time ago that I was leaving,” he added.

“That didn’t affect my preparations for games and the team. Obviously, I wanted to make the team for Afcon and when you not playing at club level it makes it a little bit difficult for the coach at the end of the day but I was happy to play the last two games."

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With his future remaining a subject of speculation, the 29-year-old has made it clear he wants to return to Europe despite talk that Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns are looking to bring him on board.

South Africa have been drawn in Group D at the Africa Cup of Nations, which kicks off on June 21 in Egypt.

Bafana will begin their Afcon campaign against Ivory Coast in Cairo, before meeting Namibia and Morocco as they look to reach the knockout stages.