Chiefs can’t afford to waste Khune X-factor

Itumeleng Khune’s future at Kaizer Chiefs remains unclear. | BackpagePix

Itumeleng Khune’s future at Kaizer Chiefs remains unclear. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 24, 2024



There’ll always be an Itumeleng Khune factor. That’s why, for the next few weeks, Kaizer Chiefs must find the one that’ll benefit everyone’s future and run with it.

Few personalities come as big as Khune and, therefore, deciding on his future can’t be easy. After all, Khune is one of the few sporting greats that can boast about having been crowned the SA Sport Star of the Year, despite his club’s failures.

Itumeleng Khune’s future at Kaizer Chiefs remains unclear. | BackpagePix

Khune, however, has enduring a string of lows in recent seasons, raising concerns if there’s realistically still a way back to the top for the 36-year-old goalkeeper. Well, that’ll be for him and Chiefs to decide – though he’ll continue to be “Mzansi’s finest” no matter what, having endeared himself even to rival fans.

The Amakhosi seemed to have decided his fate last year, saying the goalie was at the end of his career as a player, roping him into behind-the-scenes roles. However, Khune made a case regarding his future, ascending as the No 1 jersey earlier the season.

The wheels came off after he reportedly arrived at training under the influence of alcohol, subjecting him to suspension and a rehabilitation programme.

That must have disappointed the top brass at the club, given that they expected a figure such as Khune – then club captain – to lead by example. With Chiefs enduring a trophyless run for the last nine seasons, Khune would have expected to help redirect the fortunes of the club via the players.

Nevertheless, after his troubles, Chiefs’ management – now led by the children of el supremo, Kaizer Motaung – recently took Khune back into their confidence. His return has yet to be felt in the run-in, though.

Bruce Bvuma has battled to keep a clean sheet in recent matches for Kaizer Chiefs. | BackpagePix

Meanwhile, his protégé Bruce Bvuma has hit a downward spiral since his return before the Soweto derby, keeping only one clean sheet in the last five games. During his absence, Bvuma, who admitted that he missed Khune, had kept seven clean sheets in eight games before his idol returned.

It would, however, be unjustifiable and wrong to pin Bvuma’s poor form, or the club’s poor run of form, for that matter, on Khune alone. He’s just a small piece of the bigger puzzle.

Chiefs have been their worst enemy on and off the field. They’ve failed to score in the last four games. They are enduring an insipid run – a three-game losing streak – and are in danger of finishing outside the top eight.

The next few weeks are going to be taxing for the team and the club, whose bosses have to find a new coach and make a call on Khune’s career. Whether they’ll decide to wait for the new coach to come in to help him with that decision remains unknown. But there’ll always be a Khune factor on and off the field.

Chiefs just need to find the one that will suit all parties – the club, Khune and the fans – unearth or brush up, and run with it!