Baxter heaps praise on Khune

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Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter has heaped praise on Itumeleng Khune and explained why the veteran goalkeeper is staying at Naturena for another two seasons.

Khune’s future had been subject to speculation until the club confirmed this week that his contract was extended by a further two years.

Baxter, who worked with the Bafana Bafana goalie in his last stint at Chiefs, said his “infectious enthusiasm was good to have around”.

Khune has been given the thumbs up by voting fans ahead of Sunday’s Carling Cup Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates set for Orlando Stadium [17h00].

“Itu has had an absolutely amazing career so far… What he has shown is that if he is injured, he is still good to have around the place, if he is placed on the bench he is still good to have around the place, if it’s at training he has infectious enthusiasm and is still good to have around the place,” Baxter told journalists ahead of Sunday’s showdown.

He believes if that wasn’t the case, the club would not have extended his stay. Khune, on the other hand, said he was grateful for yet another dance.

“I’m grateful for yet another opportunity. We have great goalkeeping options and we all have to fight for the number one spot, no one is guaranteed,” he said.

He is convinced the competition that exists with Daniel Akpeyi and Bruce Bvuma is healthy.  

“We always have healthy competition [because] everyone is number one. We are going to support one another if you’re not playing because we’re not doing it for ourselves, we all want to help the club to achieve what we have set out to achieve,” he added.

Chiefs and Pirates clash for the ninth time in the Carling Black Label Cup with the competition having been incepted in 2011 and it will be making its return after being cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19.

The Buccaneers are the most successful team in the history of the Carling Black Label Cup having won the pre-season match five times, while Amakhosi have emerged victorious on three occasions.

Baxter will be hoping to become the second coach to win the Carling Cup twice after Steve Komphela with the former having lifted it in 2013 with Amakhosi.

Khune, together with Bucs captain Happy Jele, are the only players to have featured in all the editions of the Carling Cup since 2011.

By Mthokozisi Dube