Itumeleng Khune’s performance in the Compact Cup for Warriors FC over the weekend sent reminders about his qualities yet again, which should give his coach at Kaizer Chiefs Stuart Baxter reason to scratch his head!
Prior to this past weekend, the veteran goalkeeper had not played in a competitive match for five months with his last slice of action dating back to the MTN8 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns on August 15.
Since then, he sat on the bench once before disappearing from the matchday squad as Daniel Akpeyi fought his way from the back of the queue to reclaim the first-choice jersey ahead of Bruce Bvuma and Brandon Petersen.
Questions flew all over about his absence from the Chiefs matchday squad considering that he was not injured.
Then with the Compact Cup giving fans the power to influence who plays it was obvious Khune would get the nod considering his popularity.
As Warriors won 2-1 against Amabutho to set up a date with Coastal United in the decider on Saturday afternoon at FNB Stadium, the talking point was around Khune.
The veteran goalkeeper was solid between the posts with impressive saves while he also sent reminders about the quality of his distribution.
His coach on the day Dylan Kerr was asked if what he saw of Khune was enough to win him his place back at Chiefs.
"It’s difficult," responded Kerr.
"He was playing and now he is not playing at all but obviously Stuart, Dillon (Sheppard) and Arthur (Zwane) were watching this game from home this afternoon (Saturday). He is not running his game down. He is a good professional with a good attitude. He worked his socks off at training," he says while sharing his thoughts on Khune’s showing in the game.
"I thought Khune was outstanding because he had not played for a long time. To come into this competition the expectations were all on the keeper for who he is. The massive personality that he is. For me, I thought he was the man of the match because he saved us. With the goal that they scored, he made a great save but unfortunately, we didn’t react to the rebound," he said.