Khune set to return as Chiefs face tricky Chippa
Fan-favourite Itumeleng Khune could make the match-day squad when Kaizer Chiefs host Chippa United in their second-to-last league fixture at Orlando Stadium tonight (6pm).
This was hinted by Chiefs spokesperson Vina Maphosa yesterday. “All our three keepers [Khune, Bruce Bvuma and Brylon Petersen] are available and the fourth one [Daniel Akpeyi] is injured,’’ Maphosa told Sowetan.
“I can’t answer about one player, but all the players who are in camp are in contention to play. I talk about the three goalkeepers in camp, I can’t talk about individuals. It’s up to the coach to decide who plays.’’
Khune has come into the picture following Akpeyi’s concussion in Amakhosi’s last match, a 1-0 defeat to Bidvest Wits last Sunday. Akpeyi was subbed at half-time after colliding with Mxolisi Macuphu, with Bvuma replacing him. Bvuma conceded in the stoppage time, beaten by Bienvenu Eva Nga.
On Monday Chiefs confirmed Akpeyi had been ruled out for the last two games against Chippa and Baroka on Saturday. The Nigerian international had been instrumental for the Soweto giants this season, starting 24 of the team's 28 league games, with 10 clean sheets and conceded 10.
Before Akpeyi got injured, coach Ernst Middendorp had been emphasising the ex-Chippa man would be his No.1 for the rest of the season, disregarding calls from a section of the club’s fans to drop him when the chips were down, especially in the wake of their 3-1 thumping by Bloemfontein Celtic last month.
A few weeks ago, Middendorp suggested the reasons hindering him from playing Khune can only be elaborated by the clubs’ hierarchy. The German mentor had initially highlighted that the one-time Bafana Bafana first-choice "had a number of training days where he couldn’t make it.’’
Chiefs are at the summit of the table with 53 points, tied with second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns, who’re behind as a result of a lower goal difference. Amakhosi face Baroka in the last match of the season at Bidvest Stadium on Saturday (3.30pm).
Heading into tonight’s clash against the Chilli Boys, Chiefs veteran attacker Bernard Park disclosed their preparations were more focused on the mental aspect than the physical part.
“Our preparation has been more mental than physical. The preparations have been going well in terms of regrouping [after the Wits loss] and also tuning the mind in a more positive approach,’’ said Parker.
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