“It’s important for us to continue where we left off,” Itumeleng Khune comments about the resumption of the league on 11 August.
The Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper admits that it was tough for the players to train on their own at home after South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa implemented a countrywide lockdown from 26 March.
“Luckily, we have new technology, like the Zoom mobile app, via which we could have video communication,” Khune explains. “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.”
Khune, however, is excited that training could resume on the training pitches at Chiefs Village about three weeks ago and can’t wait for the league to restart. “We are happy that we will soon be able to do what we all love again – playing football.”
He followed the resumption of the competitions in Europe, like the English Premiership, the Spanish La Liga, the Italian Serie A and the German Bundesliga.
As usual, Khune’s focus is on the goalkeepers. “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. They didn’t seem to have the same confidence as before the break. There was clearly a lot of rustiness.
“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. 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 11 August.”
Amakhosi are presently on top of the premiership table, with 48 points from 22 games, while Mamelodi Sundowns are in second spot with 44 points from 21 matches.
To the supporters, Khune says: “You are the driving force behind this team and we will miss you cheering us up when the league restarts. However, we still want to make you proud and you will be that pillar of strength for us. We are at present in the number one spot and we don’t want to disappoint you when we go past the finish line.”
The Amakhosi goalkeeper and skipper also stresses to all South Africans to keep safe: “Wear your mask, keep social distance and sanitise!”