Barr, who previously played for Maritzburg United and recently left Portadown in Northern Ireland after their relegation to the second division, has been selected as the preferred candidate by coach Morena Ramoreboli for the ongoing Cosafa Cup.
The 27-year-old, a product of the Bidvest Wits academy, has voiced his concerns about the criticism surrounding the diminishing goalkeeping culture in South Africa.
He believes that the country is home to many talented goalkeepers who are consistently overlooked in favor of foreign imports. This situation ultimately hampers the progress and quality of goalkeeping in the country.
“I believe South Africa has numerous talented goalkeepers, but their skills and abilities are often undermined due to lack of game time,” Barr stated in an interview with SurgeZirc SA. “Foreign players joining the league take away significant opportunities from our local goalkeepers.”
Jethren Barr further elaborated, saying, “It’s not that we lack capable goalkeepers; it’s about providing them with the confidence and chances to play regular matches. If they only get to play one or two games in a season, it won’t benefit anyone.”
Out of the 16 teams in the DStv Premiership, eight clubs currently have South African-born goalkeepers as their undisputed first-choice players.
Bafana Bafana captain, Ronwen Williams, continues to be a symbol of South African goalkeeping excellence after an outstanding season with Mamelodi Sundowns. Williams was named Goalkeeper of the Year and was also nominated for Footballer of the Season.
Barr and his teammates participating in the Cosafa Cup share a common aspiration to catch the attention of the regular Bafana Bafana head coach, Hugo Broos, as they prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
“I certainly hope he’s watching because that’s the dream of everyone here,” Barr expressed. “Not a single player among us doesn’t dream of representing Bafana Bafana.”
“Personally, it has always been my biggest dream. I mention it on social media and share it with my teammates here, emphasizing that this is the most significant badge I have ever played for in my life.” He added.
As Bafana Bafana diligently prepares for their final group stage match against Eswatini on Tuesday, the players remain determined to showcase their abilities and secure a spot in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations tournament.