What Itumeleng Khune brings to Chiefs ahead of the derby

What Itumeleng Khune brings to Chiefs ahead of the derby

Kaizer Chiefs acting head coach Cavin Johnson believes that Itumeleng Khune’s return is just perfect for the Soweto derby.

Khune, the longest-serving player at Amakhosi with over two decades in top-flight football, has been away from the team since December last year.

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He was placed on suspension to undergo a corrective programme after the disciplinary committee found him guilty of having attended training under the influence.

Johnson believes his return is a major boost to the dressing room.

''Itu has come back, and we welcome him back. He has a lot to do in as far as holding the changing room together at this particular moment, because of the derby.

''He's got maybe over 20 under his belt, he brings in that extra energy and brings a little bit of calmness with his experience into the dressing room,'' said Johnson.

A veteran of 28 Soweto Derbies and having dominated that spell with victories, Johnson knows that Khune, playing or not, has a crucial role in helping his younger teammates deal mentally with the expectations of this derby.

''It's a mental game, you probably haven't played in front of 90 000 for a long time, we expect him to give mentality strength to the younger players,'' added Johnson.

Another biggest talking point coming to this clash of titans was teen striker Wandile Duba’s parting message midweek after scoring his first goal in topflight, a world-class curler against Golden Arrows.

The 19-year-old former Jozi Stars striker alerted the Buccaneers to expect him in the derby tomorrow and Johnson believes that the South African junior international striker has got what it takes, to back up his message.

''He's been preparing himself to play a derby, he's been preparing mentally to play for Kaizer Chiefs.

''He's been preparing at Diski Challenge to score goals, and what better time for him if gets the opportunity to come to the derby and score a goal - then he will be cementing his place as far as football is concerned,’’ he concluded.

This is also probably Johnson’s last Soweto Derby on this hot seat before he returns to his original position as Amakhosi’s Head of Academy.

But the former Al Ahly assistant coach says it’s not about him but the legacy of the Glamour Boys of Phefeni.