“We have been playing good football,” comments Willard Katsande ahead of Sunday’s MTN8 semi-final clash against SuperSport United. “We have been playing attacking football and created numerous chances to score, which is very positive. We have been working hard this week on that final touch to put the ball into the back of the net.”
Kaizer Chiefs easily went past Free State Stars in the MTN8 quarter-final, winning 3-0 thanks to goals from Dumsani Zuma, Leonardo Castro and Khama Billiat.
The first leg of the semis against Matsatantsa will be played at Atteridgeville’s Lucas Moripe Stadium on Sunday, 26 August (kick-off is at 15:00).
Amakhosi have been struggling a bit to get going in the Absa Premiership, but Katsande points out that cup and league games are different formats. “Cup competitions are a sprint, you win or you are out,” the Zimbabwean midfielder explains, “while the league is a marathon.”
Chiefs played to a goalless draw away against Maritzburg United in their last league match played on Friday, 17 August. “That was obviously not the result we were looking for,” admits Katsande, “because we are a big team that always wants to win. We just have to be a little patient. The results will come.”
The hard tackling midfielder also points out that new coach Giovanni Solinas must be given time to implement his soccer philosophy. The Italian wants Chiefs to play attacking football with a high pressing game.
“We are adapting well to what the coach wants,” Katsande says. “We have had little time in between the games early this season, but we now have a full week to train before the game against SuperSport United. We are working hard on pressing moments and to know where and how the coach wants us to press.”
The 31-year-old midfielder has been in fine form so far this season, winning again numerous balls in midfield. He has participated in 236 official matches for Chiefs since joining the club from Ajax Cape Town in 2011, scoring 14 goals.
SuperSport’s coach is Kaitano Tembo, a former captain of the Zimbabwean national team, like Katsande in more recent times. “I grew up following guys like Kaitano playing,” he reflects. “Just by watching them, I learnt how important it is to be fully professional to reach the top. They were role models and impacted my career.
“I know what kind of game plan Kaitano will come up with for us. We are usually good visitors to Pretoria. We have the utmost respect for SuperSport, but I feel confident that we will be able to grind out a result. My motto this year is to respect all and fear none!”
Katsande hopes that the Amakhosi supporters will come in numbers and be that 12th man: “We need that Love & Peace energy. Wear your new jersey and support the team. If that happens, we promise that we will reach the final.”
Amakhosi will host the second leg at FNB Stadium on Saturday, 1 September. Kick-off is at 20:15.
The tickets cost R15 for children and R60 for adults. The price of a ticket is the same for both legs.
TicketPro outlets are found at Edgars, JET, Spar and CNA stores nationwide.