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Chances running out for Kaizer Chiefs keeper Khune

6:19 PM MYT 16/01/2022
Bruce Bvuma Daniel Akpeyi Itumeleng Khune Brandon Petersen
The former Bafana Bafana number one has featured in only match all season – against Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN8 quarter-finals

The Compact Cup provides a great platform for Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune to show he’s still got what it takes to compete at the top.

Khune was also on the bench against Baroka FC in a league fixture, but otherwise has not made the match-day squad all season long for Chiefs.

Last season he played only 11 league games and the season before that, just four.

It’s been a combination of injury, lack of fitness, and a drop in form and confidence which has kept the veteran shot-stopper sidelined.

For so long South Africa’s undisputed brilliant best goalkeeper, it’s no surprise that he’s been chosen by the fans to play in the Compact Cup, but at the same time, the last two years have not been befitting of his status.

At 34-years-old, Khune could still play for three or four more seasons as goalkeepers often have longer careers.

But he needs to show that he wants it, and if that means leaving Chiefs, then so be it. If he stays at Chiefs but does not play at all, he should perhaps think about making the decision to retire and to go into coaching; he certainly has a wealth of knowledge and experience to impart.

So it will be interesting to see what kind of shape he’s in, and if the hunger and desire are there.

A couple of good performances for the Warriors would make the Amakhosi technical team pay attention.

It would also provide Khune with the confidence and momentum he needs.

While Khune’s contract may still have a year-and-half to go, it must surely be frustrating for him being relegated to the stands on match-days, even if perhaps behind-the-scenes he is playing a mentorship role to Chiefs’ other keepers.

When one thinks that Amakhosi’s number one this season, Daniel Akpeyi, is actually one year older than Khune, surely the South African still wants to be playing himself.

Khune is among eight Amakhosi players in the Warriors squad, the others being Bruce Bvuma, Njabulo Ngcobo, Njabulo Blom, Keagan Dolly, Sabelo Radebe, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and reserve team players Mduduzi Tshabalala.

Of those, only four – Khune, Dolly, Ngcobo and Blom - have been selected by football supporters to start against an Amabutho side comprising players from AmaZulu, Golden Arrows, Maritzburg United and Royal AM.

The semi-finals will take place on January 22 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium and the final and third-place play-off will be at FNB Stadium a week later.

The squads as well as the starting XI’s for the DStv Compact Cup are chosen via fans’ vote.

Pirates dominate the Warriors starting line-up with Deon Hotto, Thembinkosi Lorch, Happy Jele, Paseka Mako and Kwame Peprah all selected.