Defending the Net: Brandon Petersen is Goalkeeper for Ajax Cape Town
Brandon Petersen was born and raised in Elsies River, Cape Town and is the youngest of five children. He has always been an avid sportsman and has played sports across the spectrum. He now plays for Ajax Cape Town in the position of goalkeeper, a position that comes with a lot of responsibility. We chat to Brandon about life on the field, coming back from a serious injury and what it was like to represent SA in Zambia for the 4 Nations tournament earlier this year.
Have you always loved football and was it always a goal to become a professional player?
To be honest with you I was kind of an all-rounder and I pretty much did every sport that the school had to offer. I played rugby mostly up until matric. I never really thought that would become I professional soccer player. In 2013 I got offered my first professional contract at the age of 18. Basically, from that time, I decided that football would be my main focus.
Have you always played goalkeeper; what drew you to this position?
I started off as an infield player (right winger) but soon after that I decide that I want to be a goalkeeper, I don’t know why but something inside of me just told me that I’ll be a better goalkeeper than a right winger and it ended up being like that.
Do you think there is more pressure on a goalkeeper versus other people on the team? Do you feel responsible if you miss a save?
I think as a goalkeeper there is a lot of pressure on you because you can basically win or lose a game for the team but I think that can go for any infield player as well. I definitely think that many goalkeepers do feel responsible if they miss a save because that missed save might just cost you the game.
You were recently part of the team that travelled to Zambia for the 4 Nations tournament – a great honour; how was the experience?
It was most definitely a huge honour for me to part of the national team, I mean it’s every professional footballer’s dream to be able to represent their country. The experience was amazing. I had the opportunity to work with a great coach and remarkable players that I usually compete against. So all and all it was great.
You suffered a set back in 2014 when you broke your leg, it must have been incredibly scary as a professional sportsman to realise that this could signal the end of your career. How did you cope?
It was tough and also scary to be honest with you because at that time I was only 19 years old. To be told by the doctor that there might be a chance that I won’t play football again at that age was very scary. Luckily for, me I had a good support structure in my fiancé, my friends, my family, our chaplin and everyone at the club. That helped me to remain focused on what I had to do to get back on the field.
It must have taken incredible strength and determination to work your way back through physio and fitness to get back onto the team. Can you tell us what drove you and how you managed the recovery process?
What drove me to do my rehab and fitness to the best of my ability is basically the fact that I wanted to prove to the doctor that I will play again. I was so focused and disciplined with my rehab process because I knew that it was the only way for me to return to play without any hassles.
Football is a highly competitive sport with probably the world’s toughest but most loyal fans, do you feel the support when you are out on the field?
I do indeed feel the support when I play. The supporters is our 12th player and with their voice behind the team, it definitely gives us a boost.
You obviously train incredibly hard, do you follow an eating plan as well, or does your extreme burning of calories allow you to indulge in cheeseburgers!?
I am one of the lucky ones whose metabolism is very fast and I burn calories very quickly so I think it allows me to indulge in cheeseburgers hehehe!
QUICKFIRE QUESTIONS FOR Brandon Petersen
Place you’d most like to travel to? Switzerland
Current soccer star you’d like to have coffee with? David De Gea (Spanish professional footballer who plays as a goalkeeper for Premier League club Manchester United and the Spanish national team).
Secret sweet indulgence? Astros
Person you’d want to be stuck on an island with? My fiancé, Liezl.
What would you put in a time capsule to be opened in 50 years time? It would probably be a compilation of myself playing to show my kids and grandkids hehehe.