Zimbabwe international midfielder Willard Katsande said he never dreamt he would clock 200 games for South African giants Kaizer Chiefs after completing the milestone in Cape Town last night.
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 193 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 midfielder’s milestone came against the unbeaten Cape Town City, who won their previous meeting 3-2 at Cape Town Stadium in April last season.
“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,’’ said Katsande.
“They (Chiefs fans) are always great and we need their support. We definitely owe them and we will reward their continuous support.” — Kick-Off