JOHANNESBURG - Former Bafana Bafana number one Andre Arendse believes that clubs in Europe have missed out big time on the talent that is Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune.
Arendse, who is now an interim goalkeeper coach for Bafana, doesn’t doubt that Khune has what it takes to make it in Europe.
Khune has won every major title and award in South Africa and has represented the country at every international football tournament. So far, he has made two Africa Cup of Nations appearances - in Ghana in 2008 and in 2013 in South Africa.
Khune also represented his country at the World Cup back in 2010 in South Africa and was also part of the squad that took part at the 2009 Fifa Confederation Cup.
Last year, he was one of the over-aged players at the Rio Olympic Games, where he played for the SA Under-23 national team. He has amassed 84 caps for his country and has garnered 11 awards in his 13-year long career as a professional footballer.
“Itu is very happy at Chiefs. Chiefs have also been fantastic to Itu and it is also the preferences of clubs in Europe. I think that clubs abroad have missed out on the talent of Itu by not bringing him to the European stage and I think it is their loss,” Arendse explained.
Arendse made 67 caps for Bafana and was also in the Class of '96, which delivered the country's only pan-African title - the Africa Cup of Nations. He also had a stint in England where he played for Fulham and Oxford United.
“I’m not to sure about the gap. It is all about Itu Khune, who is so experienced at international level and he is so big for the country at national level. That’s why he is there and that’s why he is performing,” Arendse elaborated.
Khune has also won all the important accolades in South Africa. He has been chosen as the best goalkeeper in the country on three occasions and has also won the PSL's Player’s Player of the Season twice in his career.
His biggest award, however, was the PSL Footballer of the Season award in 2013.
The talented goal-minder has also defeated the likes of swimming star Chad Le Clos to be awarded South Africa's Best Sportsman of the Year, albeit based on a popular vote, that year. In 2008, he won the Newcomer of the Year category.
At Chiefs, Khune has won the Premiership three time (2004/05, 2012/13, 2014/15), the Nedbank Cup - including its previous iteration, the Absa Cup - thrice (2006, 2013, 2014); the Telkom KO and its previous iteration four times (2004, 2007, 2009, 2010) and the SAA Supa8/MTN8 four times (2006, 2008, 2014, 2015)
But all of this success has done nothing to help him fulfil his dream of playing in Europe.