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AmaZulu coach Cavin Johnson points out Itumeleng Khune factor after Kaizer Chiefs stalemate

Posted: 23 November 2017 Time: 08:38

AmaZulu coach Cavin Johnson said his side were on top of Kaizer Chiefs but the presence of Itumeleng Khune in goals was the big difference in last night’s barren draw in Durban.

There were doubts if Khune would feature in the game after he suffered an allergic reaction to eating prawns, but he brushed off his latest ailment to take his place at King Zwelithini Stadium.

Khune, who wore a mask in the recent World Cup qualifiers with Senegal after suffering a facial fracture in a collision with Chippa United's Kurt Lentjies, reiterated his worth eight minutes in when he denied Siyethemba Mnguni at the back post after Chiefs’ defense was sliced open by dribbling wizard Jabulani Ncobeni.

The 30-year-old later produced two quick saves in the 38th minute when Mbongeni Gumede stung his hands and Phumlani Gumede pounced on the rebound, but Khune just about kept the ball from crossing the line.

Khune also saved a penalty in the 54th minute after Siyabonga Ngezana handled the ball in the box. Rhulani Manzini, who had scored all five of his goals at the venue this season, sent his effort straight down the middle and Khune saved it with his trailing leg.

Johnson feels the Bafana Bafana star was all that stood between his side walking away with the three points on home soil.

“You mustn’t forget that you are playing against the best goalkeeper in Africa in Khune; probably the best goalkeeper in South Africa,” said Johnson.

“We shouldn’t forget that with him in the net. I thought we were getting there. If it was another goalkeeper then it would’ve been a different story.

“Just the experience and the mentality that he brings to his team and the leadership that he brings to his team in that last third, they always back him. So for us we are getting there and I’m happy we are getting in places where we should have scored goals.”

There were some negatives for Usuthu as Ncobeni looked to have picked up a knee injury and was taken off in the 60th minute. Johnson is hopeful that the former Thanda Royal Zulu midfielder, who has been in superb form this campaign, will be fit to face Ajax Cape Town on Saturday.

“He, Jabulani, he’s one of our key players. He got a knock earlier and hopefully he’s able to come around it,” Johnson added.

“I know we’ve got good medical people who will help us, so I pray that it’s not as serious as it looks.

“Beside the medical people, I have to see my little man also,” he said laughing.

Against Stanley Menzo’s team in Cape Town this coming weekend, Usuthu will be boosted by the return of Togolese defender Sadat Ouro-Akoriko, who injured his knee against Mamelodi Sundowns on October 21.

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Article by: Robin-Duke Madlala
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