Photo: Willard Katsande of Kaizer Chief. Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Photo: Willard Katsande of Kaizer Chief. Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs proved the doubters wrong, says Willard Katsande after reaching CAF champions League final

By Mihlali Baleka Time of article published Jun 28, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Willard Katsande believes his team have persevered in the Caf Champions League because they embraced the fact that not many were giving them a chance.

Amakhosi sensationally reached the final of Africa's premier club competition on Saturday after playing out to a 0-0 draw against Wydad AC at FNB Stadium on Saturday (thus winning their two-legged semi-final tie 1-0 on aggregate).

They are set to square off against Pitso Mosimane's Al Ahly in the final at Stade Mohammed V in Morocco in three weeks' time.

“The interesting thing about our run in the Caf Champions League this season is that people never gave us a chance. We carried the underdog tag from day one. After we won the first game against Wydad, we managed to draw the second one at home.

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“People said we are a lower-league team and said we haven't played a match in a long time. In the past, we went out in the early rounds of the Champions League. We used the experience because we kept on learning and this season was the turning point in terms of our Champions League fortunes,” said the 35-year-old.

Chief's run to the final of the Champions League is especially sensational when considering that they reached it on the back of one of their poorest domestic seasons in the PSL era.

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They finished eighth on the Premiership standings last season and were also eliminated in the Nedbank Cup by GladAfrica Championship side Richards Bay.

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Chiefs' inability to find form domestically last season ultimately led to the sacking of coach Gavin Hunt last month. Due to the fact that they were struggling domestically, not many fans or pundits would have anticipated that they would advance to the latter stages of the Champions League.

“Nobody gave us a chance in the group stages. People had mixed feelings about us and we felt the pain of our supporters after losing 4-0 to Wydad in the group stages. We were not doing well domestically and gave our supporters a bad impression. We kept going until the results came,” said Katsande.

Chiefs will certainly be the underdogs going into the final against Al Ahly who will be looking to win a second consecutive Champions League crown.

If Chiefs do win the Champions League, it will go down as a great shock in the history of the competition.

@MihaliBaleka

IOL Sport

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