'We remain a big team‚' says Chiefs strongman Katsande ahead of Arrows clash

Tiisetso Malepa Sports reporter
Willard Katsande says Kaizer Chiefs players are determined to make up for their disappointing domestic season with a good run in the Caf Champions League.
SOWillard Katsande 0106 Willard Katsande says Kaizer Chiefs players are determined to make up for their disappointing domestic season with a good run in the Caf Champions League.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

Willard Katsande has promised the Kaizer Chiefs fans that the players are determined to shrug off a horrifying domestic campaign and make up for their troubles at home by delivering an inspiring run in the continental Caf Champions League.

Despite their domestic struggles‚ Chiefs have punched above their weight in the Champions League and face Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca in the semi finals‚ in two week’s time‚ in their maiden knockout participation of Africa’s premier club competition.

But AmaKhosi have more pressing issues to attend to first as they face Lamontville Golden Arrows on Wednesday in a league match they will be desperate to get something from after a horror run under former coach Gavin Hunt‚ who was fired a few days ago.

“All we need to do now is to take each game at a time‚ try to be more positive and try to grind out the results‚” said soft-spoken Katsande ahead of the 5pm DStv Premiership showdown at FNB Stadium against Arrows.

“We know that Arrows had a good season but at the same time we are playing at home and when you play at home against Arrows you must always get positive results in our favour come Wednesday.”

While Chiefs are tottering in the bottom half of the Premiership log‚ Arrows are sharp as ever in third spot and will be looking to consolidate their position against Amakhosi as they bid to finish second or third place and qualify for either the Champions League or Caf Confederation Cup.

While Chiefs topped the Premiership standings for much of last season only to lose the race in the last half an hour of the season‚ and ended up finishing second under former German coach Ernst Middendorp‚ Arrows finished outside the top eight and just five points from being dragged into the dreaded relegation promotion playoffs.

The fate of the two teams is in stark contrast in comparison to last season going into the final two matches of the league season.

Chiefs are in a spot of bother in 11th place while Arrows are having their best ever season and could yet finish as the Premiership runners-up.

Katsande explored the difference between his stuttering Chiefs and the high-flying Arrows this season.

“What makes them look good this season is the continuity because they have this group of players who have been together for some time now‚ they believe in themselves and that is why they are where they are‚" said the tough-tackling defensive midfielder.

“It is not by mistake‚ it is because of the continuity they have. They have young and exciting players who are hungry and who want to prove themselves.

“Overall we will give them the respect they deserve but at the end of the day they are coming to Kaizer Chiefs and no matter how we are struggling right now‚ we remain a big team.

“We remain a team attractive to huge crowds‚ so we just need to close out our last game‚ playing at home‚ in style.”

Chiefs terminated Hunt's contract on Friday and installed assistant coaches Arthur Zwane and Dillion Sheppard on an interim basis in the side's two remaining league matches.

It is believed Chiefs will announce a new head coach to replace Hunt in the next coming days to give the new boss a reasonable time to prepare for the first leg of the Caf Champions League semifinal away against Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca in two week’s time.