If you want to win the league title‚ just sign serial winner Daine Klate
Daine Klate is now the Premier Soccer League’s clearly most decorated player‚ earning a sixth league title and capping a special evening with Bidvest Wits’ second goal in their championship-clinching 2-0 win against Polokwane City on Wednesday night.
Klate's sixth league medal takes him to two more than ex-Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Andre Arendse in the PSL era‚ who had four in the Premier League and one from the old NSL with Cape Town Spurs in 1995.
Klate joined former Durban City and Kaizer Chiefs legend Neil Tovey on six in any era.
Klate also has a staggering eight cup medals.
The latest was earned when Wits won the MTN8 in October‚ making for not just the club’s first league title in their 96-year history in 2016-17‚ but also a memorable league and cup double.
“Ja‚ I think it’s a spectacular evening for myself. But I’m more delighted for the club than myself‚” Klate said after Wednesday night’s stirring victory at Bidvest Stadium.
“It’s a bit overwhelming. As we speak I still have to make sense of everything.”
As one commentator said of the little player with a Midas touch‚ “If you want to win the league‚ sign Daine Klate”.
However‚ it was not just Klate’s signing by Gavin Hunt‚ but also other members of the Wits coach’s old guard from three successive titles at SuperSport United from 2008 to 2010 – including 2008 player of the season Elias Pelembe – that seemed it might finally give the Clever Boys a championship edge.
“Ja‚ I think tonight was proof of that‚ with myself and Pelembe coming back into the starting lineup‚” Klate said.
“There had been a few games we’d been out – I was on a red card (suspension) and on the bench and Pelembe too.
“I think it showed tonight – Pelembe was fantastic tonight. I think he played his best game of the season‚ and it showed his experience.
“And obviously myself getting the goal‚ and Bongani Khumalo at the back.
“Having guys around – like Moeneeb Josephs who had won titles with me at Orlando Pirates – who had done it previously absolutely helped everybody.”
Having won back-to-back trebles at Pirates‚ for Klate the league title at Wits‚ the club with a family atmosphere despite the financial muscle they now enjoy from the backing of Bidvest‚ is special.
“Every home game has been special. The stadium is nice and compact. Not a lot of people come but it’s an electrifying atmosphere.
“I’ve enjoyed every moment on the pitch. We haven’t lost a lot of games here this season (two) and picked up important points.”
For Hunt‚ overlooked for the Bafana job yet again with Stuart Baxter’s appointment this month‚ suggestions of the Wits boss having lost his title edge have been put to rest by the coach equaling Gordon Igesund and Ted Dumitru on four league titles.
“Gavin obviously is a brilliant coach – four times now‚” Klate said.
“And hopefully he’s going to be in the reckoning for the Bafana job.
“We fight a lot – he’s a very straightforward coach. But obviously he wants to get a reaction out of you. When he has a go at you‚ you must show him that now I’m going to do better.
“I’m happy for him. He’s worked tirelessly with us‚ and tirelessly for the club for the past three seasons. And finally it has come off.” - TMG Digital/TMG Sport