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Itumeleng Khune: I’m 100% better and willing to go the extra mile for Chiefs

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Itumeleng Khune of Kaizer Chiefs. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

Kaizer Chiefs legend and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune is determined not to let his injury setbacks get the better of him.

Kaizer Chiefs will be looking to make it three wins on the trot when they host Golden Arrows at the FNB Stadium on Saturday night.

After starting the year on a poor note, Chiefs have been rejuvenated in recent times, recording back-to-back wins over Baroka FC and arch-rivals Orlando Pirates.

A win over Arrows could lift them into second place. Should they finish second this season, they will qualify for next season’s CAF Champions League. Given that Mamelodi Sundowns lead atop the league standings is 15 points, it’s safe to say that second is the best that Chiefs will be able to do this season.

Meanwhile, Chiefs legend and goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune has reflected on how injuries have affected his career in recent years. Arguably the best South African goalkeeper in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) era, Khune has only made one competitive appearance for the club this season which came in the MTN 8.

Khune’s career has undergone a downward spiral in recent years. The 91 times capped Bafana Bafana international once looked destined to surpass Aaron Mokoena’s record 107 international caps for South Africa. Now that he is 34 and not even making Hugo Broos’ Bafana Bafana squads, it will be a tough ask for Khune to even reach a century of caps for the national team.

Khune reflected on how injuries have curtailed his career.

“I’ve had quite a number of injuries in my career. The one that scared me the most was the shoulder injury that kept me out for nine months. That was the longest and most frustrating injury that I’ve had.

“I’m 100% better now and willing to go the extra mile for the club,” said Khune.

Even though he is not playing much, Khune has made no secret of his desire to emulate 2006 Italian World Cup winner Gianluigi Buffon. Buffon recently signed a two-year contract extension with boyhood club Parma.

This deal ensures that he will be playing professional football until at least the age of 46.

“The legacy that I want to leave when I retire is for people to remember that Khune was there and that he played a huge role. There’s no one who wants to be remembered as a failure.

“I want to be remembered as a major part of Kaizer Chiefs winning trophies and dominating South African football. I think I’ve played over 350 matches and kept over 150 clean sheets. I want to take every opportunity that comes my way.

“When I retire, I want to know that I’ve given my all,” he said.

@EshlinV

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