Willard Katsande set for Kaizer Chiefs legendary status

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By Aaron Nhau

FORMER Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs captain Neil Tovey has described ex-Warriors skipper Willard Katsande as a fitting Amakhosi legend.

Tovey, a Chiefs legend in his own right after playing for the Soweto giants from January 1991 until he retired in 1999, said Katsande’s great career at Naturena merits legendary status.

He said Katsande, a 2011 summer signing from Ajax Cape Town, has done enough on the pitch for the Phefeni Glamour Boys to warrant the same status conferred to the likes of Doctor Khumalo, Ryder Mofokeng, Thabo Mooki, Shoes Moshoeu and Teenage Dladla.

The tough tackling midfielder, who has now played more than 300 games for Amakhosi, is one of the few players, still at the club, who featured in the crunch game against Polokwane City back in 2015 when they last clinched the domestic league title.

“You know 10 years at Chiefs, I mean why not? It’s a long time. It takes a lot of dedication, lot of hard work. “I mean you don’t last 10 years if you have not put much of an effort and dedication to the club. You don’t last. And it’s not (under) one coach; he’s obviously had lots of coaches,” said Tovey, adding: “So, for you to last 10 years all the coaches have liked what you’ve done. So, to play 10 years it shows you’ve done something good for the club.

“You know there are not a lot of players who played 10 years for a club. It shows the club believes in you and you believe in the club. “He has earned it, you know, he has earned it. It’s up to the club and the fans to decide on that.”

Apart from helping Chiefs win the 2015 title, Katsande, widely known as “Boss Yamboka Kitoko Makasi” due to his social media antics, also won the Nedbank Cup in 2013 and the MTN8 title in 2014 with the Soweto giants.

Though Katsande’s form this campaign has been rather patchy, his loyalty and peerless midfield experience has made him a permanent feature in this season’s crucial games for Amakhosi.

Chiefs are going through a barren run of trophies in the past few seasons. They have been without silverware since the 2014/15 season and their current poor form has brought more criticism from the fans.

Katsande began his career playing for local lower division clubs in Mutare such as Frontier Steel, Feruka and Highway before joining 2009 Zimbabwe soccer league champions Gunners.

At Gunners, Katsande played a key role in the club’s campaign in the CAF Champions League qualifiers and was the standout player when the unfashionable Harare side shocked African giants AlAhly 1–0 at Rufaro Stadium in the Champions League second round match before eventually bowing out on 2–1 aggregate, after losing the reverse encounter 2–0 in Cairo.

The celebrated anchorman then moved to Ajax Cape Town in 2010 but barely a year later, he started his glitzy career at Chiefs. As the Super Diski’s most popular club, it is not easy maintaining such a long stay at the Soweto giants.

Some of the top talent from South Africa, the rest of the continent and even Europe and South America have struggled to cope with the weight of expectation at Naturena.

However, Katsande credits his discipline and teetotaling behaviour for his longevity and success at Naturena. “It’s a matter of the lifestyle I have chosen to live and my focus which is very narrow. There are a lot of distractions and vices here in South Africa and if you are not careful, you will fall in the wrong hands and this will derail your career.

“You need to be strong-willed and focused if you are to achieve your goals in such a place like South Africa “You need to know the reason why you have come here and that is to play football. This is something I think most of the young players coming from Zimbabwe are failing to grasp when they sign for South African clubs.

“They think that they can relax and enjoy the good life without putting the hard work. If you are a foreigner you need to put in the extra work to remain relevant here,” the midfield enforcer told the Daily News on Sunday in an interview last year.

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