Khune is wary of Kekana’s big boot

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT - MAZOLA MOLEFE

IF THE Kaizer Chiefs de­fence, one that is among the best in the Pre­mier­ship this sea­son, drops its guard tonight against log lead­ers Mamelodi Sun­downs then goal­keeper Itumeleng Khune will have his hands full.

Khama Bil­liat, Jeremy Brockie, Sibu­siso Vi­lakazi and their lead­ing sharp­shooter Percy Tau de­scend to FNB Sta­dium look­ing to not only stretch the Brazil­ians’ dom­i­nance at the sum­mit, but to also end a three-sea­son long win­less run at this venue.

Khune is well aware of Sun­downs’ fire­power.

“We need to be spe­cific in our plan­ning – how we go­ing to close them down,” the Amakhosi goal min­der and skip­per said this week. “We know that as soon as they jump the half­way line it’s mu­sic and we are go­ing to have to dance to their tune. We must de­fend well. But I trust our play­ers.”

De­fend­ing is some­thing Chiefs have done ex­cep­tion­ally well this sea­son even though they have been un­for­tu­nate not to be com­ple­mented by their at­tack­ing de­part­ment. Prior to last night’s round of matches, Amakhosi had the sec­ond best de­fen­sive record in the league be­hind Mar­itzburg United, who were host­ing Chippa United.

“All we will re­quire on the night is a lot of com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” Khune added. “It’s not a ma­jor con­cern that they can score from any­where. I think at Chiefs our weapon, and I am ex­pos­ing se­crets here, is that we be­lieve the first of­fender must be the first de­fender, so whichever area the player loses the ball in, he must be the first one to press be­fore the op­po­nent picks up their heads and picks out the pass.

“That has worked very well. I am aware of Hlom­pho Kekana’s long range shots. I will just have to be on top of my game.”

While Khune sounded con­fi­dent that Chiefs can get all three points and close the gap at the top down to just two points, Sun­downs – led by coach Pitso Mosi­mane – have given the im­pres­sion they will be un­der­dogs, go­ing as far as claim­ing they are “scared” of Amakhosi.

It ap­pears the play­ers have also picked up on this.

“We are go­ing to give them the re­spect they de­serve,” said their cap­tain Kekana. “They can hurt you there (FNB Sta­dium), and we have lost for two sea­sons in a row. They are ca­pa­ble of win­ning these big matches at any time. We want to close down their front two in Leonardo Cas­tro and Gus­tavo Paez. We need to be cau­tious. We can’t be naïve.”

Al­though giv­ing off a timid vibe when pub­licly talk­ing about fac­ing Chiefs away from home, the mid­fielder did not play down the sig­nif­i­cance of the fix­ture in the ti­tle race.

“Ob­vi­ously we are not go­ing to win the cham­pi­onship by just win­ning this game. But we need to try and get the three points as a club. We want to feel good and fi­nally put one over Chiefs,” Kekana said.

“There are so many ex­pec­ta­tions. The game it­self has got its own hype. It’s clear to us that if we don’t win, we must not lose. Maybe we have to dig deep.”

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