JOHANNESBURG - Willard Katsande, the hard-tackling midfielder who usually gives it as hard as he takes it on the pitch, showed a softer side on Thursday and admitted he was anxious for his Kaizer Chiefs teammates who are heading for the exit door at the end of what is turning out to be another forgettable season for the Glamour Boys.
The club broke its silence on Wednesday following the 3-0 defeat at home against Chippa United at the weekend, arguably Chiefs’ worst result this season if not over the last few years, which lead to ugly scenes at FNB Stadium.
Amakhosi fans pelted players and coach Steve Komphela with objects and attempted to force their way through barricades to confront the team at the final whistle.
A day later there was an emergency meeting at the club headquarters in Naturena, which lasted five hours and was followed by a statement from the chairman that there would be a squad overhaul and Komphela would, for now, keep his job because it would be hasty to make a coaching change this late in the season.
“We were hired to do a job for this club,” said Katsande, who has been at Chiefs since 2011. “As a result, we know the consequences when things are not going well or according to plan. I don’t know the details in terms of what will happen at the end of the season, but we have to take whatever happens as professionals.
"I can say it’s painful for me to see my colleagues lose their jobs because we are breadwinners at home. But at the same time we need the club to be competing for trophies. It is up to management to take the right steps.”
The 3-0 thrashing meant what was already a tough ask to topple Premiership log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns was now a near impossible mission seeing that the Brazilians stretched their lead at the top to 10 points the next day, with four games to go.
Katsande also tried to be diplomatic when asked whether the Chiefs squad had enough quality. While the answer may perhaps be a simple no from fans and neutrals, the midfielder, with over 200 games for Amakhosi, had a different take.
“We have had some quality performances,” he said. “It’s just that we have had some shortfalls in terms of converting the chances as a team. We also had new kids on the block and they were trying to adjust, to learn the culture of the club.
"As you have noticed we have a totally new team compared to three seasons ago. But I think, given the chance, the kids would have grown next season and know what it means to play for Chiefs.
"After the comments this season, they will have their heads up and know if they don’t perform there are consequences. Everyone is aware of the current situation.”
“The last four league games are about quality performances. We also need the confidence heading into the Nedbank Cup semi-final against Free State Stars. It goes without saying that at some point you won’t find yourself at the same club. That is the nature of the job. But for now, nobody knows what tomorrow holds. We just need to finish the season on a high,” said Katsande.