Kotei’s arrival ‘does not signal beginning of the end for Katsande at Chiefs’
Kaizer Chiefs midfielder George Maluleka has dismissed popular suggestions that the arrival of Ghanaian midfielder James Kotei at the club signals the end of Willard Katsande’s dominant presence in Amakhosi’s engine room.
Maluleka‚ whose own position could be equally challenged by Kotei – recently bought from Tanzanian club Simba SC – said Katsande’s role in the club will be boosted by the Ghanaian’s presence.
He said Kotei’s arrival will challenge all of Chiefs’ midfield players to raise their performance.
“Competition‚” said Maluleke of what Kotei will bring to Chiefs.
“I don’t agree with those saying he’s the new Katsande‚ but it’s a healthy competition.
“And where there’s healthy competition amongst the players. The team becomes very strong because everyone is fighting for that place.
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“I think it’s very healthy for the team and for the players‚ so it’s a good thing. Kotei is remarkable with his tackling and passing as well.”
Maluleka said all the new signings at Chiefs – which include Zambian marksman Lazarous Kambole‚ Serbian striker Samir Nurkovic and Durban-born‚ Australian-raised midfielder Kearyn Baccus – will strengthen the club for the coming season.
“Obviously if you look at the signings that were brought in‚ these are more experienced guys‚ whereby when you look at last season they were some youngsters who were promoted‚” the midfielder said.
“So you see the direction with these signings. But like I said‚ it’s been very difficult in the past few years [Chiefs have not won a trophy in four years] and we have to change the situation‚ no doubt about it.”
Maluleka said the difference in his team should begin to show no later than Saturday when they meet their bitter archrivals Orlando Pirates in the preseason Carling Black Label Cup at FNB Stadium (kickoff 3pm).
“It’s always a big one and I will say there’s no friendly match between Chiefs and Pirates‚” he said.
“So obviously it’s very difficult because we are still preparing for the season.
“But we still need to give it all because this sets the tone for the season and for us it also gives our supporters that extra confidence booster because they have a say in it.”
Maluleka was pleased to have got the nod to start on Saturday from the fans‚ who vote in the starting line-up online or via SMS.
“For me it’s very good and I’m very happy‚” said Maluleke. “It shows that supporters have faith in me.
“So obviously there’s only one thing to do on Saturday – to perform‚ to give a very‚ very big performance.
“The result will be important and I think the supporters want to see the result.”
On the coming campaign‚ Maluleke said it goes without saying that Chiefs have to vastly improve if they are to end their unprecedented trophy drought.
“It’s very disappointing [that the team did not make it to the top 8] and it is something we do not want as a club‚” he said.
“But we have another season to rectify all of this. I think with the squad that we have and obviously the addition that came through‚ we can’t fall short this time.”