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Talismanic Khune still wants more

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa | 2017-09-28 12:49:21.0

Itumeleng Khune has been hospitalised a couple of times in the past few weeks but it seems nothing can stop him.

Khune, 30, was hospitalised with a chest infection late last month and missed Bafana Bafana's 2018 World Cup qualifying matches against Cape Verde Islands. He was admitted again last weekend after colliding with Golden Arrows striker Knox Mutizwa when the two sides played to a goalless draw at FNB Stadium.

Chiefs later said their No 1 had only sustained a neck muscle spasm and could be fit to face Baroka at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday (6pm). Khune has been in incredible form and was man of the match on three consecutive occasions since recovering from the chest infection.

When Sowetan met him recently at the club's headquarters in Naturena, Joburg, for a chat, he sounded more like a footballer who has just made his breakthrough and is eager for more.

But this is the same Khune who has already played more than 274 PSL games for Chiefs since his debut in the 1-1 draw against Jomo Cosmos in 2007.

Khune has also featured in 83 matches for Bafana Bafana, a record for a goalkeeper.

So, having won club and individual accolades over the years, what keeps him so motivated?

"It's my passion for the game. It's the motivation from players, family, fans and everyone who believes in my talent," said the Ventersdorp, North West-born goalminder.

Khune started out as a 12-year-old in the Amakhosi youth team and made his senior team debut at 20.

The first goal he conceded was a penalty by Anthony Laffor, who played for Cosmos then.

It's actually through penalties that Khune proved his mettle when his three saves guided Chiefs to the 2007 Telkom Knockout final against Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Stadium. He hasn't looked back.

"Yes, you mentioned that I've won everything on offer [on the local scene] but if [Lionel] Messi can win five Ballon d'Ors and if [Cristiano] Ronaldo can go win four, who am I to be satisfied? I can't relax.

"As long as I'm still given an opportunity to play here at Chiefs and Bafana, I will always give it my all.

"I just set myself another goal - to play until I'm 40," Khune added.