Baxter backs Katsande for top award

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iol spt apr3 Katsande derby goal Gallo Images Kaizer Chiefs boss Stuart Baxter believes midfielder Willard Katsande is among the front-runners for the Premierships player-of-the-season. Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Johannesburg – Kaizer Chiefs boss Stuart Baxter believes midfielder Willard Katsande is among the front-runners for the Premiership’s player-of-the-season award after the hard-hitting Zimbabwean put in yet another man-of-the-match performance on Wednesday.

Katsande’s thrilling run of form earned him the man-of-the-match award during last month’s Soweto Derby in Johannesburg, sparking a superb display from the 28-year-old in subsequent encounters.

“If he continues in the same vein as he’s been playing, then I think he’s definitely a candidate,” Baxter said following Chiefs’ 2-0 victory over Golden Arrows on Wednesday.

Known for being a work-horse in the middle of the park, Katsande has earned plenty of criticism in his time at Chiefs as being unable to control his temperament, often receiving yellow and red cards for ill-timed and dangerous tackles.

Baxter, however, has repeatedly leapt to the defence of the Zimbabwean international, who Baxter believes is often unduly booked, based purely on his reputation.

“I keep on saying to him, ‘listen mate, you’re on the right track but keep going otherwise you’ll get hit by a train’.

“He laughs, but that’s true. If he takes his foot off the accelerator, there are a lot of people who have criticised him in the past and they’ll criticise him again.

“The referees still can’t get over Willard making a tough tackle. Everybody else on the field makes tough tackles but Willy gets a real dressing-down after like 15 minutes.”

With Saturday’s potential title-deciding clash with Mamelodi Sundowns just days away, Baxter said he hoped Katsande would be able to deal with harsh decisions, which inevitably go the way of the opponents, when it comes to the Zimbabwean.

“He’s got to put up with that and he’s got to keep his composure and keep his discipline and still be competitive.” – Sapa


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