Wandile Duba must stay humble, warns Kaizer Chiefs coach as Itumeleng Khune returns

Wandile Duba celebrates after scoring a goal for Kaizer Chiefs against Golden Arrows on Tuesday night. Photo: BackpagePix

Wandile Duba celebrates after scoring a goal for Kaizer Chiefs against Golden Arrows on Tuesday night. Photo: BackpagePix

Published Mar 7, 2024


Cavin Johnson is living up to his billing as a coach with an ability for ‘unearthing the next big thing’ at Kaizer Chiefs, but he’s warned an emerging superstar against getting carried away.

Johnson has carved his name as one of the best coaches in talent development, following his days at the School of Excellence and Ajax Cape Town.

So much so that when Chiefs appointed him as the head of scouting and youth last year, many tipped him to excel in the role.

However, Johnson’s ability to nurture young talent seems to be bearing fruit in his stint as Amakhosi’s interim coach, through the rise of Wandile Duba.

In his full debut for the senior team on Tuesday night, Duba became an overnight hero for Chiefs, scoring the team’s only goal in the win over Golden Arrows.

It wasn’t only a goal that won Chiefs their first game or points of the new year, but one that gave Johnson and his troops a breather and morale boost.

Chiefs extended their trophy drought to nine seasons after missing out on all the silverware up for grabs this season.

And that’s not all. They needed to beat Arrows to take positives to Saturday’s Soweto derby against arch-rivals Orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium.

However, amid the fanfare and belief that has seen Johnson claim “we are back”, he has warned Duba against getting carried away with the hype that’s surrounding him.

“To judge him on one game would be premature,” Johnson said of the 19-year-old who was promoted to the senior team early last year.

“But to judge him on the training sessions, the mentality and the attitude he has had at training, then he probably has a long way to go with Kaizer Chiefs.

“He just must keep on cutting the cloth (putting in the effort). He will get some … he won’t get some. If he stays humble, then I think he will be a good striker.”

Prior to his full debut against Arrows, Duba had only made two cameos for Chiefs this season, both coming this year against Royal AM and Moroka Swallows.

But should he recover in time for the derby, after sustaining a knock against Arrows, he’s expected to lead Chiefs’ strike-force at the Calabash.

Duba has already fired a warning to Pirates’ defence, saying on SuperSport TV after the Arrows game: “They should expect me, because I’m coming.”

And while Johnson is happy that Duba is taking his chances, he’s pleaded with the rest of his players to grab their opportunities with both hands.

“We played very well in the first half, and we got a goal from a 19-year-old that has been knocking on the door for a while now,” Johnson said.

“Like we said before, we have 30 players in the team, and all 30 players should be capable of starting the game (and delivering results).”

Another player who seems to be grabbing his opportunity under Johnson is Zitha Kwinika, the defender who’s made the right-back position his in recent weeks.

“There’s nothing wrong with Reeve (Frosler) or Dillan (Solomons), but Zitha has always given me the back-up while he’s a centre back,” Johnson said.

“Sometimes you’ve got to play with God and play him (Zitha) at right back. When he does the job for you, and if he doesn’t do a bad job, you bring him back again.”

Meanwhile, Chiefs received a major boost ahead of the derby as veteran goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune rejoined the team after a three-month suspension.