When a star is born, he automatically has a reputation to uphold. Set aside the talent and athletic ability and what do you have? You have a high profile athlete with a mindset that can go one of two ways.
Kaizer Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune has made a living on proving his critics wrong and every day is a storybook of his character. Some claimed, “he is done and injuries have ended his 2016/17 season,” while others said that he will be back. And back he came.
‘Spiderkid’, as Khune is affectionately known amongst his peers, has shown on the field of play since the start of the year a true representation of his character and his determination into turning his troops into a championship outfit. It’s something that he and other senior players know too well. The skipper, who overcame back problems, has led the team to two wins in a row and an overall five game unbeaten run which sees Amakhosi in second spot, one point behind Cape Town City on 30 points in the Absa Premiership standings.
Similar to his character, Khune has opted to take the spotlight away from himself, and instead heaped praise on his “resilient and driven” teammates following their impressive 2-1 away win over Maritzburg United on Saturday evening, something the team has not achieved since 2009.
And Khune believes that the team is building a winning mentality as we approach the business end of the Absa Premiership campaign.
“Winning games is something we have worked hard for as a team and everyone in the team deserves all the praise and credit. It’s not a one man show, because we are all working hard on ourselves and it’s showing,” says Khune.
“As players we have been tough mentally, especially during the difficult period earlier on in the season and that togetherness has allowed us to enjoy this period as a team where we are five games unbeaten.
“Now we want to achieve more as a team and continue with the good run of winning and the mentality is showing in every aspect of our game which is crucial at this stage of the season.
“We are at a point where we are very competitive; we’re doing what the coaching staff is asking from us to do. And we’re trying to do it in the proper fashion. Some of the football we have played has been good to see. The confidence is high.”