THE seasoned Sakubva-bred trio of Willard Katsande, Onismor Bhasera and Washington Arubi face defining moments with their respective clubs as the South African DStv Premiership reaches the home stretch.
Having endured contrasting fortunes over the course of the campaign, Kaizer Chiefs, SuperSport United and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila (TTM) are looking forward to posting positive results and sign off the season in style.
For a team that finished as league runners-up last term, Katsande’s Chiefs have been barely recognisable as the giants of their domestic league and continue hovering in mid-table. They are presently nearer to the foot of the table than the apex. Going into the midweek fixtures, Amakhosi (29 points) sat ninth.
Bhasera and his SuperSport United, on the other hand, have flattered to deceive with their fluctuating form and appear to be running out of steam to sustain their title bid. They are perched on sixth position with 38 points. Despite playing a starring role on TTM’s march to clinching the Nedbank Cup, Arubi’s side (25 points) are still battling for their top-flight life and are only one spot above safety.
With four rounds of matches left to go for the majority of the clubs, Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila have a game in hand over their rivals.
In an interview from his Soweto base, Willard Katsande told Post Sport they are eyeing to finish as high up the log standings as possible.
“We have not fared as well as we should have during the league run, but we want to finish in a respectable position that befits the huge status of this iconic club. That is the only way we can make up for the disappointment of failing to lift any domestic honours,” said the veteran ex-Warriors skipper.
Inconsistent Chiefs are, however, keen to save their sorry domestic season by salvaging something from a promising CAF Champions League run that has seen them reach the quarter-finals for the first time ever in the club’s history.
Katsande’s former national squad teammate Bhasera echoed similar sentiments.
To mark their progress, SuperSport are still on the hunt to break into the top four after last season’s fifth-place finish. They were four points of the pace before Wednesday evening’s games, on the back of successive three draws and two defeats.
Said the left-footed defender: “Having started strongly, we were in the running for the title until bad form derailed us. We, however, remain resolute in our quest to finish among the best three teams at the end of the season and secure a slot to play in the CAF continental competitions. We are still in with a chance and will push all the way.”
2021 Nedbank Cup champion and goalkeeper of the tournament, Arubi is hoping to reproduce his scintillating form in the league run-in and help Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila duck the chop.
The Premiership rookies will also leverage on his experience to coast to safety.
“As winners of the knock-out tournament, we want to prove our mettle and show that this was no fluke. The rest of our league duels have become cup finals as we are out to win all of them. That is the importance our campaign at this juncture has assumed because we want to evade relegation. We are up for the challenge and will fight with everything we have. Every player here is enjoying their game and the confidence boost from our cup triumph will spur us on to survival,” said Zimbabwe’s 2011 soccer star of the year.
Three victories in their last five games have seen Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila climb up from the drop zone.