Itumeleng Khune urges Chiefs teammates to get the job done
Goalkeeper says that mental strength will be important when the team resumes play
Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune has issued a rallying cry to his teammates urging them to continue where they left off before the season was suspended in March due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
Chiefs are top of the Premiership standings with a four-point advantage over second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns‚ though the Brazilians have a game in hand.
Khune said that while it was not easy for the players to train on their own at home for months after the country went into strict lockdown, it is important for them to dig deep and hang on to their lead.
“It’s important for us to continue where we left off‚” said Khune. “Luckily‚ we have new technology like Zoom where we could have video communication. This helped the coaches to guide us on exercises to keep fit.
“It was a frustrating time‚ as we missed being on the field; we just had to hang in there.”
Clubs have been back at training for about three weeks, and Khune said he cannot wait for the season to resume as Chiefs will be looking for their first league title since the 2014/2015 campaign. “We are happy that we will soon be able to do what we all love again‚ playing football.”
Khune has closely followed the restart of the English Premiership‚ the Spanish La Liga‚ the Italian Serie A and the German Bundesliga in recent weeks, with his main focus on the way goalkeepers have adapted after the long layoff.
“I realise that the break‚ due to this Covid-19 pandemic‚ affected a lot of keepers‚ including Manchester United’s David de Gea and Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel‚” he said.
“They didn’t seem to have the same confidence as before the break. There was clearly a lot of rustiness.
“Luckily‚ we have had a bit more time to prepare before the league restarts. We have also discussed various aspects on our ‘Keeper Corner’‚ which is us goalies communicating with our goalkeeper coach, Lee Baxter.
“It’s basically about learning from the past to go forward. Going back into the field will all be about mental strength. We just need to be ready come August 11.”
Khune‚ who has played second fiddle to Daniel Akpeyi this season‚ said they are going to miss their fans as matches are going to be played behind closed doors.
“You are the driving force behind this team and we will miss you cheering for us when the league restarts. However‚ we still want to make you proud and you will be that pillar of strength for us.
“We are at present in the number one spot and we don’t want to disappoint you when we go past the finish line.”
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