Katsande eyeing Champions League swansong

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The end is nigh for Kaizer Chiefs’ veteran midfielder Willard Katsande! But that does not mean he wants to wind up his career quietly.

Katsande, 35, is the first to admit his days are numbered. His journey started in the lower division in Zimbabwe back in 2002 before he was snapped up by Premiership side Gunners FC in Harare for the 2009/10 season.

The former Warriors captain went on to make his PSL debut for Ajax Cape Town in December 2010 and will celebrate his 10-year anniversary at Chiefs early next month.

He believes winning the Caf Champions League would be a befitting swansong for him.

“We are coming to the end of our careers and we want to enjoy our game, so if you win the big [one] like this one, you will say, ‘Wow, I did it’,” Katsande told Sunday Mail.

He is well aware that their domestic season was an underwhelming one especially after coming close to winning the League title the previous season.

Nonetheless, he is clear they are not in the final to make up numbers. “The Caf Champions League final is huge; [it is] the biggest stage in African club football and you don’t know if you will make it again in your lifetime.

“The club hasn’t been there; it’s the first time and I am part and parcel of the group. I am blessed. It’s not all players who play African football who end up playing in a Champions League final.

“We are enjoying the moment and we are going there [to the final] not to make numbers but to make history.

“We just want to make it a reality that will be stuck in Chiefs’ history for the rest of our lives. We want to do this for the chairman [Kaizer Motaung], especially after a bad season,” Katsande told the Zimbabwean weekly.

Indications are that Katsande, Itumeleng Khune and Bernard Parker will all be remaining at the club with fresh contracts already ironed out.

The Zimbabwe international last month equalled countryman Tinashe Nengomasha’s record for the most appearances by a foreign player in Chiefs’ history after making his 325th appearance for the club across all competitions.

Amakhosi are only the fourth team to reach the Champions League final without conceding at home throughout the competition.

Tunisian giants Esperance twice achieved that in 1999 and 2011, going all the way in the competition without conceding at home, a feat also achieved by Al Ahly.

RELATED STORY: Katsande feels Amakhosi supporters’ pain

By Mthokozisi Dube