Kaizer Chiefs’ Yusuf Maart wants to improve and be the ‘jack’ in the box-to-box midfield role

Kaizer Chiefs’ Yusuf Maart during the DStv Premiership pres conference. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs’ Yusuf Maart during the DStv Premiership pres conference. Picture: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Sep 16, 2023


Yusuf Maart is well aware of his shortcomings at Kaizer Chiefs this season and he’s working hard to get back to his best.

Chiefs’ struggles last season under then-coach Arthur Zwane are well documented, but there were still players who wore their hearts on their sleeve for the team.

These players include Maart fitting like a glove in his first season at the club. The former Sekhukhune United captain also scored a cracker against former club Orlando Pirates in the Soweto derby.

But this season under coach Molefi Ntseki, Maart admits that he has been a shadow of his old self.

“To be honest, I still have a lot to do as a player. But eventually, I will get there and put in the shifts that will show that I am a good player,” Maart said.

Last season Maart showed his true potential, having mastered his midfield duties while captaining the team. One could argue that being stripped of the armband affected his performance.

Under Ntseki, Brandon Petersen has beaten Maart to the armband, despite the pair starting all seven matches since the start. However Maart doesn’t blame his slump in form on losing the captaincy.

“There are 11 players on the field and all of us are leaders. You can’t judge leadership by an armband. At the end of the day, you are on the field to do your job,” Maart said.

“If you look at that you are going to end up sulking and you won’t be a team player. Brandon didn’t sulk last season when I had it and he was on the field. So, what makes me special to that? So, on my side, I am happy for Brandon and the team. At the end of the day, we lead each other.”

Maart’s role hasn’t only changed with the captaincy but with being forced to juggle the No 6 and No 8 roles with new wonderkid Edson Castillo.

“I am more comfortable as a No 8 because I feel like a box-to-box type of a midfielder,” Maart has said.

But he’s not upset with having Castillo as his partner in Chiefs’ engine room, given the South American’s footballing qualities.

“Castillo is a great player. His style of play is something different in the team. The way he passes is amazing and brings a great difference in the team,” Maart said.

Castillo, Maart & Co will have to bring the much-needed difference for their team when they face Royal AM in a DStv Premiership clash at FNB Stadium tonight.

Before the break Chiefs ended a poor start to the season by going three games without a loss, winning two in the league, and drawing one in the MTN8.

But they’ll know that Thwihli Thwahla will present a different challenge altogether, having been Amakhosi’s bogey side, winning three games and losing two in the two teams’ five meetings.