Willard Katsande set for 200th Kaizer Chiefs game against Cape Town City
Posted: 13 September 2017 Time: 10:48
Kaizer Chiefs midfielder Willard Katsande is delighted that he is set to play his 200th game for the club against Cape Town City tonight, admitting he never thought he would reach such a milestone.
The 31-year-old, who joined Amakhosi from Ajax Cape Town in 2011, made his debut as a replacement for current teammate Siphiwe Tshabalala in the MTN8 final of that year. He has since racked up 191 starts and a further seven substitute outings for the Soweto giants.
He made a slow start to his career at Amakhosi under former coach Vladimir Vermezovic, but things changed for the better when Stuart Baxter arrived in 2012.
Under the guidance of Baxter, Katsande's game improved tremendously and he slowly moved away from being the player infamous for the reckless tackles that would see him collecting yellow cards almost every week.
This is when his abilities, such as passing and winning aerial battles, started coming to the fore as he continued to improve his game.
In 2015/16 the midfielder was named Amakhosi's Player and Players' Player of the Season. He scored seven goals that season, despite being a defensive midfielder.
“I never expected to play that many games for Kaizer Chiefs,” Katsande told Chiefs' website. “This is really great.”
The Zimbabwean expects a tussle tonight against the unbeaten Citizens, who won their previous meeting 3-2 at Cape Town Stadium in April last season.
Benni McCarthy's side sport a perfect record from five matches in all competitions this campaign, while Steve Komphela's charges exited the MTN8 before drawing 1-1 with Bloemfontein Celtic and losing 2-1 to SuperSport United in the league.
“We lost 3-2 last season in Cape Town, while playing so well. It was an enthralling match and it was actually one of our best performances in the 2016/2017 Absa Premiership season. If we deliver that kind of quality football again, we will win this time around,” said Katsande.
“I also hope that our fans will turn up in numbers at the Cape Town Stadium. They are always great and we need their support. We definitely owe them and we will reward their continuous support come Wednesday evening.”
Komphela is without the suspended Erick Mathoho and fellow defenders Ramahlwe Mphahlele, Tsepo Masilela, Sibusiso Khumalo and Teenage Hadebe through injury, as well as strikers Ryan Moon and Emmanuel Letlotlo. However, goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune is back for the Glamour Boys are shaking off a chest infection.
Kick-off is at 19h30 at Cape Town Stadium.