Johannesburg – When Knowledge Musona scored his splendid strike for Zimbabwe against Bafana Bafana in midweek, there must have been plenty of Kaizer Chiefs fans with conflicting emotions.
On the one hand, Musona’s blast began the condemnation of South Africa to an embarrassing home defeat to the Warriors. On the other, the strike can only have boosted the confidence of a man yet to score a competitive goal in his second spell at the Amakhosi.
Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter was one to admit his delight that Musona had scored for his country, as he spoke at the Chiefs village on Thursday ahead of Saturday night’s Absa Premiership clash with Maritzburg United (FNB Stadium, 8.15pm kick-off).
“I was happy to see Knowledge hit the back of the net,” said Baxter. “I suppose if I was patriotic I shouldn’t enjoy that too much, but a part of me thought it would do Knowledge the world of good. I have to excuse myself and say I was not 100 percent disappointed.
“Knowledge also played now in a practice game against Aces and scored and he got one in Bloemfontein (in the pre-season Macufe cup). But to get one in a high profile game … will have done him the world of good. I hope he now brings that form back to club football. He has done okay, but when you are a striker, people say he didn’t score, it gets in your head. Now he has scored, he can get on with it.”
Musona was just one of seven Chiefs players who took part in the Bafana-Zimbabwe game. Bafana coach Gordon Igesund had four in his starting line-up – Eric Mathoho, Tsepo Masilela, Reneilwe Letsholonyane and Bernard Parker, while Siphiwe Tshabalala came off the bench.
Baxter might be entitled to feel a little aggrieved that Igesund used so many of his players in an experimental friendly, just a few days after Bafana’s World Cup qualifier against Botswana, and not long before the Maritzburg clash. But if the Amakhosi coach was seething inside, he did not show it.
“I am not here to tell the national coach how to do his job,” said Baxter.
“It is not my job, it is a Fifa date and Gordon gets the players he selects, and uses them as he sees fit. Our job now is to get them recuperated and back into the team rather than talk about whether Gordon was right or wrong. If I deem they are not up for it and they look lethargic in training, I will rest them.”
A new face at Chiefs training on Thursday was 21-year-old trialist Ugandan defender Ivan Bukenya, who Baxter said Chiefs are looking at as cover for both the centre of defence and defensive midfield, with particular regard to Willard Katsande’s tendency to get booked.
“He came in this morning, we haven’t seen him at all yet,” said Baxter.
“But with the conversation we have had with people who have played with him and seen him, we hope he can give us a bit of cover at centre-back and central midfield. We have quite a combative midfielder in Willard (Chiefs’ other Zimbabwean international), and we are trying to make sure he remains combative without being reckless.
“On the other hand, we have to make sure we have cover, we don’t want him (Katsande) to just be a cone, standing there and not tackling.
“We want him to play his normal game, and not be as reckless and pick up as many cards. But in the real world, we know he will pick up some cards, so we want this boy (Bukenya) to cover both positions. We’ll see if he (Bukenya) can be a Kaizer Chiefs player, we don’t know yet.”
Friday: Bidvest Wits v Ajax Cape Town (Bidvest Stadium, 8pm)
Saturday: University of Pretoria v Bloemfontein Celtic (Tuks Stadium); Free State Stars v Platinum Stars (Goble Park); AmaZulu v Moroka Swallows (Moses Mabhida Stadium, 6pm); Kaizer Chiefs v Maritzburg Utd (FNB Stadium, 8:15pm)
Sunday: Black Aces v SuperSport United (Mbombela Stadium); Polokwane City v Golden Arrows (Peter Mokaba Stadium).
*Matches kick-off at 3pm unless otherwise stated