Itumeleng Khune close to making his return to the pitch

DURBAN – Kaizer Chiefs have been fragile without the services of their goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune over the last six months but those days may be soon over as he inches closer to full fitness.

Itumeleng Khune sustained a shoulder injury last season and in his absence Daniel Akpeyi and Bruce Bvuma have battled for the No 1 berth without either of them taking ownership of the position.

A delighted coach Errnst Middendorp explained that Khune was not far away from a return to action at the post match media conference following Amakhosi’s 1-0 Absa Premiership victory over Black Leopards. An Eric Mathoho goal at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban securing the match on Saturday night.

“We will have Khune next week (meaning this week). We played him 45 minutes (in a friendly match last week). We will play him 90 minutes (in a friendly this week) and then he will be available for selection,” Middendorp confirmed the good news for the Chiefs faithful.

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Itumeleng Khune has been out of action since sustaining a shoulder injury last season. Photo:Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Bvuma was between the sticks in Amakhosi’s league opener against Highlands Park, which they won 3-2. Despite letting in those two goals at Makhulong Stadium, he was also chosen to start against Leopards but had to be withdrawn due to injury.

“We had an issue with Bruce at the training session (ahead of Leopards match) due to a groin problem. The medical team was confident that he could play today (Saturday). Immediately after a 10 minute warm-up, we had an impression that it would not work,” he added.

Defensive frailties were one of the major reasons for Amakhosi’s poor showing in the previous campaign during which the failed to finish in the top eight and thus miss out on this season’s MTN8 competition.

“One thing I can promise with confidence is that we don’t have an issue in the goalkeeping department. Not at all. Daniel has done well coming from the Africa Cup of Nations with Nigeria where they finished third.

There was one uncertainty in the first half when he came out but I think for 92 of his 93 minutes, he was absolutely dominant in his organisation.

“Definitely, not an issue at all. If Daniel is playing, it is fine. If Bruce is playing, it is fine,” Middendorp explained

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We will have Khune back this week, a delighted coach Ernst Middendorp said. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Chiefs have a tough league encounter against SuperSport United on August 24 and are looking to make it three wins out of three.

While Khune might not be back for this match, his return to full fitness is sure to light a fire under both Akpeyi and Bvuma and whoever gets to play will definitely be out to hold on to the No 1 jersey.



The Mercury

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