Ball stop­per stopped at noth­ing

Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs skip­per Khune over­came health scares to keep his dream alive

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

scored that goal.

An ap­pear­ance at the 2016 Rio Olympics and keep­ing a clean sheet against Ney­mar and home team Brazil in the tour­na­ment’s open­ing game is an­other ma­jor high­light.

“As a young boy I dreamt of play­ing one game for Bafana, I’ve now played 82 and will cher­ish ev­ery one for the rest of my life.

“I’ve now set a new tar­get and want to get to 108 (record holder Aaron Mokoena has 107 caps). I still have a long way to go, I’ve not yet turned 30 and goal­keep­ers can of­ten play un­til they’re 40,” Khune says.

Off the field, he’s set his sights on be­com­ing an en­trepreneur and is an avid prop­erty in­vestor, pre­par­ing for the day “when the pay cheques stop”.

For all his prop­er­ties, one of the coun­try’s most el­i­gi­ble bach­e­lors is still look­ing for the white picket fence life of a woman to share his life and home with.

“Foot­ball is my life and I have a large fam­ily to take care of. But yes I do feel I am un­der pres­sure now.

“Most of the guys I play with have kids and are mar­ried, but I want kids with some­one I will spend the rest of my life with. Who will love me for who and not what I am.

“Some­one who will add value to my life, not just ben­e­fit and then leave, as has hap­pened be­fore,” he says, with­out wish­ing to elab­o­rate.

While he does meet “a lot of ladies” they’ve not been on the same wave­length and hence he’s not put a ring on it just yet.

For now though, he’s hop­ing for a ring of steel from his Bafana de­fence as they face old foes Nige­ria away next Satur­day in their open­ing 2019 Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fier with not-so-new coach Stu­art Bax­ter back at the helm.

“We re­spect Nige­ria, they’ve beaten us many times be­fore and have big-name play­ers. But it will be a dif­fer­ent ball game this time round.

“I also be­lieve our stan­dard has im­proved, and we have play­ers who will want to im­press our coach. It will be dif­fi­cult, but we are look­ing for­ward to the game. I en­joy and work well un­der pres­sure,” says Khune.

Against the Su­per Eagles, pres­sure is guar­an­teed, luck­ily Khune en­joys his kitchen hot.

PIC­TURE: NOKUTHULA MBATHA

Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs goal­keeper Itume­leng Khune talks about his soc­cer ca­reer.

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