Diski Team 2023/24 Overview: Fanie Raludzingana

Shot stoppers are not born, they are made, and the journey of 22-year-old Fanie Raludzingana is testament. Having no minutes in his four seasons of the DStv Diski Challenge (DDC), this season afforded Raludzingana an opportunity to bow out of the Reserve League in style, and he seized the opportunity. Of course, having the likes of Africa’s best, Ronwen Williams and the most decorated player in the PSL, Denis Onyango, as role models, he definitely was destined for greater heights.

Ironically, his football journey did not begin with the gloves. In fact, he was forced into the position by his then coach and at the end, it worked out for him as he fell in love with goalkeeping.

“My football journey began around 2008 when I was playing for a local team in Cosmo City called Ikageng Development. I started out by playing as a left-back but my coach decided to play me as a goalkeeper. At first, I didn’t like it but I ended up falling in love with the position,” Raludzingana said.

Looking back on his first season as a Brazilian, Raludzingana admitted that this was an experience that exceeded his expectations.

“My experience at the Club is one for the books. There is no moment whereby I can look back and say I regret joining the team. Working with my teammates and the entire technical team was nothing short of amazing. I learnt a lot from every single one of them and it helped me improve in many aspects. Even though it wasn’t easy at first because we were basically a new team, we managed to grow a very beautiful relationship as brothers in the pitch,” he stated.

Raludzingana – who started in all 30 matches – conceded the least goal this season, with just 27 goals, jointly with the Stellenbosch keeper. Furthermore, he had the most clean sheets, with 15 to his name. Credence also has to be given to the Goalkeeper coach, Tshepo Makgata, for the work he has done in sharpening the skillsets he already had and for almost striving for perfection.

“My stats made me feel really good because as goalkeepers that’s the goal. Strikers dream of scoring and we dream of conceding less goals and keeping the most clean sheets. Seeing that there was improvement in my performances made me proud, because it wasn’t an easy season. We saw the hard work we would put during training manifest in the pitch in almost all the games, especially the second half of the season. I can confidently say that this was my best season in the DDC,” he confidently stated.

Just like most of his teammates, the Diski Team goalkeeper was given an opportunity to train with the first team numerous times. This afforded him the opportunity to draw inspiration from his role models. He claimed that the experience helped him become an improved version of himself.

“Training with the first team is always a privilege because you get to watch your role models and to learn from them. Whenever I was given a chance to go and train with them, I got to learn a lot of things. Goalkeepers such as Jody February, Ronwen Williams, Denis Onyango and Reyaad Pieterse were willing to answer all my questions to the best of their knowledge and offered advice when they could. Being exposed to players of their calibre helped me learn a lot from them,” the keeper declared.

Of course, with the great season Raludzingana and his teammates had, there were a few highlights he mentioned, including winning against the Orlando Pirates Reserves and Swallows Reserves in the second half of the season. He said: “I have two highlights from this season. The first one was when we won 1-0 against Orlando Pirates in the second leg. It was a much-needed victory because we lost against them in the first leg, so we were looking to redeem ourselves, of which I think we did. Seeing how happy the supporters, the coaches and my teammates were, felt really good. My second highlight was the last game of the season against Swallows. Looking at the number of goals we had to score when no one believed we could do it and actually doing it, was a great way to end the season.”

With the 2023/24 season having come to an end and having played his last season in the DDC, the 22-year-old goalkeeper has set a few goals for himself to achieve in the next season. So, what’s next for Fanie?

“The goal is to go play either in the second division or in the PSL. I would also like to get a national team call-up, which has always been my dream and my goal – representing my country,” he concluded.

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