A Chiefs’ Triumph Made in Zimbabwe

Harare ‑ “When they mention the legends who have made a big mark at Chiefs, Muguyo is among the greatest and that’s when this special relationship started and players like Rabson Muchichwa cemented it and Knowledge Musona really took it to another level.
“It’s not easy to make it at a club like Chiefs because the pressure is intense but I guess our boys are successful because they work very hard, they go out there to do a job and they do it to the best of their capabilities.
“They have gained a lot of respect because of their hard work and it’s that work ethic that makes them successful and it’s good to see them winning big trophies because only a few years ago we were being mocked out there and Chiefs were also being mocked for buying cheap and poor Zimbabwean players.
“They were saying you buy one and get one for free but all those people have been silenced now that our boys have won the league championship.”
Nkhatha played 1 465 minutes, making 28 appearances, 18 of them in the first team for Chiefs and 10 as a substitute and scored seven league goals.
Jambo’s season was blighted by a very bad injury, suffered early in the campaign after a collision with Tinashe Nengomasha, and he played just 630 minutes, making seven appearances, all in the first team and got just one yellow card.
Rusike was hired at the beginning of the season, as a player for the future, and he played 187 minutes, six appearances, three in the first team and scored just one goal.
“Matthew was an investment for the future and they believe he is real quality and that is why they went all the way to get him from Jomo Cosmos,” said Deda.
“It’s the same with Lincoln, they see him as a future centreback and they are willing to take their time to make him grow the Amakhosi way.
“I don’t see Chiefs buying any foreign players during the off-season and I think they will keep their five Zimbabweans and if they are to beef up their squad it has to be by getting the South African players although you never know with football.”
Katsande, in terms of impact, made the biggest among the Zimbabwean contingent at the Amakhosi this season.
He played 1 905 minutes, in 24 appearances, including 21 as part of the first team, and got 10 yellow cards and one red card for his all-action approach which has been praised by English coach Stuart Baxter who singled him as one of the three players who shone brightly in their campaign.
“I think Willard Katsande too. When I came, he was a rash-tackling hooligan in the middle of the field – that’s what I called him,” Baxter told KickOff.
“I said to him, ‘I don’t want a rash tackling hooligan’. We played a friendly game while in camp in Potchefstroom and he gave away a penalty by nearly breaking someone’s leg in a friendly game.
“So I told him I don’t want a rash tackling hooligan and he looked me straight in the eyes and said, ‘if you take time to teach me, I would learn’. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Willard.”
Chiefs will also end a lengthy self-imposed exile, from CAF inter-club competitions, by playing in the Champions League next season, which will give their Zimbabwean players a bigger platform to parade their skills.
“Playing in Africa is about representing your country and it is something we cannot shy away from. We are committed to that,” the club’s owner, Kaizer Motaung, said when he received the league championship trophy.
“It is costly to get involved in the Champions League. You are well aware that there was no sponsorship for this competition at the time, in 1993, when we first got involved and the South African teams took a stand to say we won't play until something happens.
“Now it is sponsored, even though it is not adequate and that's why as the PSL, we give the clubs that participate there R1 million especially for the first part of the campaign, but we are not fortunate like other countries.
“In other countries, their governments pay for them but because we are a big League in Africa, obviously we must compete.”

June 2013
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