June 23, 2021

Coronavirus: Kaizer Chiefs’ Khune learning from De Gea and Schmeichel mistakes

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The Amakhosi shot-stopper admits they will need to rely on their mental strength more than ever when the PSL season resumes in August

Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune has spoken about the importance of his side continuing where they left off before the coronavirus pandemic hit South Africa in mid-March. 

Amakhosi went into the lockdown break atop of the PSL standings and four points ahead of second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns as they close in on their long-awaited domestic title.

While Khune is relishing the return, he’s wary about the fate suffered by high-profile Premier League goalkeepers David de Gea and Kasper Schmeichel, who endured some tricky moments and appeared rusty at times after football returned.

“I realise that the break, due to this Covid-19 pandemic, affected a lot of keepers, including Manchester United’s David de Gea and Leicester City’s Kasper Schmeichel,” Khune told the Amakhosi website. “They didn’t seem to have the same confidence as before the break.

“There was clearly a lot of rustiness,” he added. “Luckily, we have had a bit more time to prepare before the league restarts.

“We have also discussed various aspects on our ‘Keeper Corner’, which is us goalies communicating with our goalkeeper coach Lee Baxter, and it’s basically about learning from the past to go forward.

“Going back into the field will all be about mental strength. We just need to be ready come August 11.”

The stopper has also acknowledged that some of his teammates have found it hard to train alone during lockdown, although he’s not lost sight of how fortunate Chiefs were to be able to prepare themselves as well as possible to return to action strongly. 

“It’s important for us to continue where we left off,” he continued. “Luckily, we have new technology, like the Zoom mobile app, via which we could have video communication.

“This helped the coaches to guide us on exercises to keep fit. It was a frustrating time, as we missed being on the field. We just had to hang in there.

“We are happy that we will soon be able to do what we all love again – playing football.”