Moffat Mungazi Sports Correspondent
KAIZER CHIEFS ace, Willard Katsande, is gearing for a glorious celebration to the club’s 50th anniversary by clinching the most prestigious silverware in South African football — the Absa Premier Soccer League championship.
The continent’s most lucrative league resumed on August 11 behind closed doors to bring the current campaign to a conclusion following five months of dormancy brought about by Covid-19. In line with health and safety guidelines to curb the pandemic, AmaKhosi will use Orlando Stadium in Soweto — a provisional home where they command a huge and loyal following.
With eight rounds left to play, the Naturena-based side sit on top of the 16-team pile with 48 points from 22 games.
They hold a four-point lead over second-placed and defending champions, Mamelodi Sundowns, with their closest chasing rivals having played one match less (21).
Sakubva-bred Katsande is enjoying the return to action. He reckons clinching the 2019-20 season crown will have great significance as the Soweto giants are celebrating half-a-century of existence.
Chiefs’ last title triumph was in 2015.
“It feels good to be finally back. We mean serious business and are hungry for our first championship in five years. We have worked hard to be in pole position on the log standings. With a rich history decorating Kaizer Chiefs, we are itching to win this competition because it means a lot to everyone associated with this great club.
“It has been 50 years since the club was formed. Becoming this season’s champions will be perfect icing on the cake of those celebrations. Our cheering fans deserve that. Above all else, being the best team on this land has always been this club’s objective. I cherish being part of their story,” said the 34-year-old former Frontier Steel and Highway star.
Katsande previously won two league gold medals under Stuart Baxter in 2013 and 2015. The former Warriors captain, who is among Chiefs’ highest-paid footballers, told Post Sport that he is in good shape despite the lengthy period of no football action.
“We have been busy with our training programme during the lockdown. We have been using the Zoom and Strava mobile applications for our workout sessions.
“It is now five weeks since we regrouped as a team and are now working on the tactical side of things on the pitch. We are getting there and cannot wait to execute our game plan properly. There has been a positive vibe among us all and everybody is ready to rumble given what is at stake.
“My fitness levels are high and I hope to hit top form as soon, although some friendly matches would have been good in giving us some match rhythm. Otherwise, we have conditioned ourselves well.”
To keep their foot on the pedal, the gold and black-shirted boys are poised to take the remainder of the crash programme by the scruff of its neck without running out of steam.
“We will not play many matches in one game, but take each and every one of them as they come. Focus and determination is key here. These are like eight cup finals and we have to grind out favourable results. The next six weeks are going to be very crucial as we march towards achieving our goal,” said Katsande.
“We will finish off the job we started so well and maintained brilliantly over the course of the campaign. Ours has been a good run, we have to continue with that,” said Katsande.
He underscored the need to maintain a loud bang as Real Madrid did as they clinched the La Liga gold in the just-ended Spanish league.