South African goalkeeper Ronwen Williams was the main architect of Mamelodi Sundowns’ qualification to  the final of the inaugural edition of the African Football League (AFL). 

Mamelodi Sundowns are in the final of the African Football League (AFL) after gaining a 1-0 narrow lead at home to Al Ahly before forcing a goalless draw in the return match. 

The “Brazilians” owe this qualification in large part to their goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, who once again put in a masterclass performance against the Egyptian giants. 

By stopping a penalty from Ali Maaloul in the12th minute following a foul by himself on Percy Tau, he allowed his team to come back into a game they had started in the worst possible way. It was the second penalty that the 31-year-old goalkeeper from Port Elizabeth had saved  in the competition after he saved another one  against Petro Atletico de Luanda in the first leg of the quarter-finals. 

Like it was against  Al Ahly, it was this feat that allowed Rulani Mokwema’s men to break the deadlock in this match that got off to a bad start, and finally to win a precious victory (2-0).

Apart from these two penalties saves, Ronwen Williams,  is yet to concede in four outings.

It is no coincidence that his club paid him a tribute on its digital platforms after this historic qualification for the final against Al Ahly. “We’re still thinking about that saved penalty!” Sundowns posted on their official Facebook page on Thursday morning. A message that is accompanied by two images of the player, one showing how he easily saved the penalty from Maaloul and the other where he celebrates his achievement, with his fist raised.

Ronwen Williams, who joined Sundowns  last season from Supersport United, where he had stayed for more than a decade, wasted no time in writing his name into the club’s legend. 

He was one of the main architects of last season’s league title and the club’s remarkable run in the TotalEnergies Champions League, where they were eliminated in the semi-finals by Wydad. It is the Moroccan club, who defeated Esperance de Tunis on penalties, that the Bafana-Bafana goalkeeper (25 caps) and his teammates will face in the final, on November 5 and 11. This is a perfect opportunity to get their revenge after the dramatic scenario of the Champions League.

Nominated in the categories of Best Goalkeeper and Interclub Player of the Year at the 2023 CAF Awards, Ronwen Williams proves through his performances in the AFL that this recognition from CAF experts is far from being usurped. He is one of the main pillars on which the Pretoria club should rely in an attempt to lift the first ever trophy in this new competition jointly organised by CAF and FIFA.