Andre Arendse has been one of the country's most consistent and reliable performers since South Africa was re-admitted into the international arena, but one has to begin to wonder if it is now time for the Sundowns stopper to step down and allow one of the 'new generation' of goalkeepers their chance to shine.
It's always easy to have a go at a player when he has made a couple of errors, as Arendse has this season, but make no mistake, he is still a great keeper who has a number of seasons in the Premier Soccer League left in him and the saying 'form is temporary and class is permanent' definitely applies to him.
The CapeTown-born player, who first made his name at Cape Town Spurs, has proven in his career that he is indeed top class by earning 63 caps for Bafana Bafana as well as playing with great distinction in England for both Fulham and Oxford United.
On his return to South Africa, Arendse joined up with Santos and was one of the major reasons for the recent success of the People's Team.
The problem is that at 36 Arendse may no longer have the same reflexes and agility that he once had, and this can prove to be costly at international level where a split second decision can be the difference between a victory or a loss.
Arendse must still be taken to the African Nations Cup as his experience will prove valuable, but after that coach Shakes Mashaba needs to start looking ahead to the World Cup 2006 and start blooding new keepers. He is certainly spoilt for choice in this respect as there are a number of highly talented shot stoppers lining up for their chance at donning the number one jersey for their country.
Moeneeb Josephs of Ajax Cape Town had a great season during the last campaign and played a major part in ensuring his side's survival in the top-flight.
Wits' Wayne Roberts is finally realising his full potential under the watchful eye of mentor Roger de Sa and is yet to concede a goal in seven matches this season while Emile Baron of Lillestrom has always done well for the under-23's and also deserves a chance.
Calvin Marlin of SuperSport United is another allround quality goalkeeper who has performed consistently well in the PSL for a number of years now and then there is of course the Chiefs duo of Brian Baloyi and Rowen Fernandez, who are both international class, although it could be argued that Baloyi is in the same boat as Arendse in that he is nearing the twilight of his career.
So with this much talent it seems pointless for Mashaba to be hanging onto a player who may not be performing to the same standards as he was once capable of.
I am not calling for Mashaba to unceremoniously dump Arendse, but rather call on him to be aware that there will be a time when the old guard needs to changed, and Mashaba needs to make sure that he does not delay that decision for too long.