Khune urged to put his interests first as talks deadlock

Willard Katsande believes Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune must follow his heart in deciding his future. | BackpagePix

Willard Katsande believes Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune must follow his heart in deciding his future. | BackpagePix

Published Jul 10, 2024


Smiso Msomi

Former Kaizer Chiefs man Willard Katsande has given ex-teammate Itumeleng Khune career advice as talks regarding a new contract with the club drag on.

The 37-year-old goalkeeper is currently in limbo about his future with the Soweto giants after being left behind on their pre-season tour of Türkiye as uncertainty surrounds his role at the club.

Khune was handed a one-year extension at the start of last season as the club expressed their desire to have one of their longest-serving players start his transition from playing to more of a coaching role.

However, “Mzansi’s number one” remained firm in his stance that he still feels capable of playing into his 40s, referencing the career of legendary Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon as his inspiration.

It now seems as if both Khune and Chiefs are at loggerheads about the way forward and Katsande, who hung up his boots in July 2022, reminisced about his time playing with Khune before urging him to make the right decision for himself without external influence.

“We were part of the captain’s committee together and I came to football to make friends, so he is one of the friends that football gave me. We always talk and he is always positive about every situation he is faced with,” he said, as the club launched the 2024 Toyota Cup on Monday.

“It is up to him to decide what he really wants to do but at the same time, he doesn’t need to doubt what he contributed to Kaizer Chiefs and how much he touched souls out there. Every goalkeeper, when he has the ball, always wants to be like Khune.

“He left a blueprint in football. If he decides to go to the other side of retirement or he still wants to play, we have to support him. The most important thing for him is to listen to his body and not bow to pressure.

“Whatever he decides, we must support him because at the end of the day, it’s between him and his family, we just need to support him.”

The Glamour Boys’ marketing director Jessica Motaung also spoke at the club’s launch of this new pre-season tournament. She confirmed that Chiefs and Khune remain locked in conversations with Khune but expected a resolution to emerge soon.

“We are certainly in discussions with Khune but the club will make announcements,” she said.

“It’s been 25 years and he is like a little brother to me. We are having discussions around what the opportunities for him are and we are looking forward to announcing that in the future.”

Khune made his debut in the gold and black of Chiefs in 2004 and has gone on to represent the club 347 times in over two decades with the Naturena-based club and kept 153 clean sheets in the process.

If he is to depart, Bruce Bvuma, Brandon Peterson and young Bontle Molefe will battle it out for the No 1 jersey once more.