Itumeleng Khune sets sights on 600 appearances for Kaizer Chiefs before retirement
Posted: 16 March 2018 Time: 11:00
Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune says he would like to double his number of starts for the club before he hangs up his gloves.
Khune reached a milestone 300 appearances – all of which were starts – for Amakhosi, when he helped his side to a 2-1 victory over Stellenbosch FC last weekend.
Having made his professional debut against Jomo Cosmos on 25 August 2007, the Bafana Bafana gloveman has been an ever-present for Chiefs, and is only the sixth players to reach the esteemed mark.
Others include Doctor Khumalo, who holds the club record of most starts (397), followed by
Brian Baloyi (347 starts), Thabo Mooki (329), Siphiwe Tshabalala (325) and Tinashe Nengomasha (311), and Khune says he is honoured to have joined the list of club legends.
“It’s a great feeling to have reached the 300-mark. I’m happy, but I’m not satisfied because I could have played more games for the club if it wasn’t for injuries,” said Khune.
“But challenges always come and, as footballers, we are bound to have those setbacks so it’s about how you bounce back, and your mental toughness is also important.
“It’s not that I want to break records but I hope to continue doing what I love. There’s Doctor Khumalo on 397 and there’s Brian Baloyi, ‘Tsiki-tsiki’ [Thabo Mooki] and ‘Shabba’ [Siphiwe Tshabalala] ahead of me.
“So, those are great legends and I’m happy to be named amongst them.”
The 31-year-old has since targeted another nine seasons at Naturena, and hopes to rack up another 300 appearances in that time.
“It’s a motivation to me. When the coach and squad were congratulating me, I made a joke and said, ‘I think I’m left with nine more seasons,’” he revealed.
“I’m 31 this year and I want to play until I’m 40, so jokingly I said, ’300 matches to date, 700 to go.’ They said, ‘No ways, let’s do maths. How many seasons have you been with Chiefs?’ I said ‘11’, and they said, ‘Okay, you’ve played 300. In nine years you won’t play 700 games.’
“So, I admitted they were right. Maybe I can play 600, but it will take a lot of discipline from me and I will need to look after my body because it’s my investment. If I continue working hard, I will reach that milestone.”