FIRST IM­PRES­SION

Kick Off - - COVER FEATURE -

Ace Khuse is cred­ited as be­ing the man who brought Ekstein to Kaizer Chiefs, as the former Amakhosi re­serve team coach re­veals his first in­ter­ac­tions with the tal­ented mid­fielder. “Our sea­son had just ended and we felt we needed to play some friendly matches, so we ar­ranged to go and play against Ekstein’s team on the mines,” Khuse ex­plains. “I had ac­tu­ally ini­tially seen him play­ing at some tour­na­ment in Mohlak­eng where I come from and though I took a lik­ing to his way of play­ing, I didn’t fol­low up on him un­til we saw him again in that friendly game. After he im­pressed us, we ar­ranged for an­other game against the same team to see him again. In that sec­ond game he still per­formed the same way and dis­played at­tributes of be­ing a great player, so we took him right away.” It didn’t take long for Ekstein to im­press the se­nior hi­er­ar­chy at Na­turena. “When we got him to Chiefs, we then in­vited chair­man Kaizer Mo­taung to watch him at the Nike Cen­tre dur­ing the Dis­cov­ery Tour­na­ment. The chair­man liked him right away and that is why he was then pro­moted to the first team. There was no need to con­tinue wast­ing time on him be­cause we had al­ready seen the tal­ent that he had. I am glad we found such a tal­ented player like him in the mines where he could have been eas­ily wasted.” Khuse, now a ju­niors’ scout at Chiefs, still highly rates Ekstein, and hopes he can reach his full po­ten­tial. “I ac­tu­ally think Chiefs took too long to pro­mote him to the first team,” Khuse says. “He is a spe­cial player. The chal­lenge fac­ing him now is how to avoid fall­ing into the com­fort zone that comes from be­ing pop­u­lar. This will mean be­ing dis­ci­plined and mak­ing sac­ri­fices for the sake of his game.”

Don­ald ‘Ace’ Khuse

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