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Reaching CAF final more vital than new deal – Katsande

Veteran wants to make history with Chiefs

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Willard Katsande of Kaizer Chiefs. File photo.
Willard Katsande of Kaizer Chiefs. File photo.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

As he’s one of a number of Kaizer Chiefs senior players whose contracts lapse at the end of this month, defensive midfielder Willard Katsande has declared that winning the CAF Champions League takes precedence over his future at Naturena.

Chiefs are on the verge of reaching their first Champions League final, thanks to the crucial away goal they scored in their 1-0 away win over Moroccan powerhouse Wydad Casablanca in the semifinals first leg last Saturday. The second leg is at FNB Stadium on Saturday (6pm).

“No, no, no! We’re not even worried about what’s going to happen in terms of contracts because what’s in front of us is bigger. Getting to the final of the Champions League…getting the trophy is bigger than our contracts because it’d put the club on the map,’’ Katsande told Sowetan yesterday.

“Whatever happens will happen after we complete the Champions League. At this stage nothing is more important than winning the Champions League. I have played professional football since I was 17 years old and I hadn’t reached the Champions League semis, so I don’t need any disturbances.’’

Bernard Parker and Itumeleng Khune are among the old guards whose contracts expire next week. The 35-year-old Katsande also lauded the role of new coach Stuart Baxter in their win over Wydad. As he’s yet to receive his work permit, Baxter watched the game in Casablanca from the stands, with assistant coach Arthur Zwane in the dugout.

“Coach Stuart is a mastermind. He’s a great coach; remember, he was with the national team [Bafana]. He knows all of us and some of us worked with him during his first stint at the club, so I can say he had a big influence on our win in Morocco,’’ Katsande said.

“Even the technical team he found at the club work nicely with him, so it was quite easy to adapt to what he wants us to do. He’s a breath of fresh air  in the group to be honest. He knows Chiefs in and out.’’

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