Itumeleng Khune. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEFTY SHIVAMBU
Itumeleng Khune. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEFTY SHIVAMBU

Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune’s absence from the starting line-up has raised eyebrows among the club’s fans, but coach Gavin Hunt says his return is in his own hands.

Hunt said if Khune works hard‚ remains fit‚ impresses at training and proves to the technical team that he is better than the players he’s competing with for a starting berth‚ then he will regain his place.

Nigerian Daniel Akpeyi has made the position his own in the club’s last six Premier Soccer League matches as Chiefs recovered from their early season slump to win three and draw one of their last four games.

“I thought Daniel was excellent [on Saturday]. Fantastic. He sweeps well‚ so there’s a lot of competition and people need to work hard to get back in the team‚” Hunt said.

Akpeyi has for the second season running looked better than Khune in the Chiefs goal and managed to keep two clean sheets in the past six matches‚ including in the goalless draw against Stellenbosch FC at the Danie Craven Stadium on Saturday.

Khune was given plenty of chances at the start of the season but fluffed them by giving the ball away to opponents.

The match against SuperSport on December 15 was his last appearance. Akpeyi has taken over the No 1 jersey since‚ with Chiefs losing only one game against Maritzburg United (2-0).

Chiefs drew two matches, against Bloemfontein Celtic (1-1) and Stellenbosch (0-0), and won the other three against AmaZulu (1-0, Cape Town City (2-1) and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (3-0).

It is that form that has taken Amakhosi to seventh place on the PSL table ahead of their meeting with Baroka at home on Tuesday and Orlando Pirates in the Soweto derby on Saturday.

Asked if he was happy with how things are going for Chiefs, Hunt said he wasn’t.

“No‚ not at all‚” he said. “When we started we were not doing well but it’s got better now and it’s important for us to try to keep going every week and try to improve. It’s a long way to go‚ it’s not even halfway yet. We’ve got to just keep playing.”

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