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Khune fired up by new lease of life


Itumeleng Khune, armed with a surprising two-year contract extension, said that he is set for rejuvenation as a player when the new season starts.

Itumeleng Khune has had his contract extended at Chiefs. Picture: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix

THE NEW coaching regime at Kaizer Chiefs has given 34-year-old goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune a new lease of life that will enable him to escape the monotony of warming the bench or sitting in the stand and cheering the team on.

Khune, armed with a surprising two-year contract extension, said that he is set for rejuvenation as a player when the new season starts.

In the past few months, he played second fiddle to goalkeepers Daniel Akpeyi and Bruce Bvuma, the preferred choices as the club remarkably negotiated the challenging route to the Caf Champions League final.

On Sunday, the Carling Black Label Cup will be played, and there is no chance of Khune missing out on the action. His popularity in the football community has ensured that he will be the goalkeeper of choice for Chiefs against Soweto rivals, Orlando Pirates.

Traditionally, the fixture is a curtain-raiser to the new PSL season. The match will be at Orlando Stadium, the Mecca of South African football. Unfortunately, no spectators will be allowed at the match.

Khune said he has had time for introspection and will grab new opportunities with both hands this season.

“In the past, I have been frustrated by injuries,” said Khune. “Sometimes, these injuries take longer than expected. Sometimes, you start fighting your way back, and then you suffer another injury.

“I now had a chance to see what was working when I was avoiding injuries. I have seen what I was doing wrong, as I did introspection. Now it is only fair, that since I have been given this opportunity, that I grab it with both hands.

“I want to adjust to the new coaching at Chiefs.”

Khune said he was highly pleased when Stuart Baxter was reappointed as head coach for a second stint at Chiefs. He said the club won trophies during Baxter’s first stint, and the future was looking bright for the club, and him personally.

“It is for the club to decide on my stay at Chiefs, but I am grateful for the opportunity,” said Khune. “We have a great goalkeeping department, and a great goalkeeping coach (Lee Baxter).

“He has made it clear that we are all No.1s at the club. We support one another for the benefit of the club. We (goalkeepers) will all do our best. I want to adjust to the new training.”

A few weeks ago, Baxter arrived at Chiefs after they were down on their knees and embarrassed, fighting desperately for a top eight spot in the Premiership. The club was humbled and had nothing to look forward to except bravely continue fighting for survival in the Champions League.

In the new coaching set-up at Amakhosi, Baxter has chosen former Bafana Bafana coach Molefi Ntseki as his lieutenant. On Sunday, the new partnership will do all they can to guide Chiefs to grab the bragging rights in this traditional showstopper.

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