Willard Katsande hurt by Kaizer Chiefs' stagnant seventh position on the log
Willard Katsande says it is painful for him and his Kaizer Chiefs teammates to hear fans making fun of the team for being stuck in seventh place on the Absa Premiership log for much of the season.
With two league games to play‚ Chiefs face the ignominy of missing out on the MTN8 cup next season if they fail to finish inside the top eight bracket.
At a crucial stage of a league championship‚ Chiefs are reeling from a five-match winless streak in the league and find themselves in an unfamiliar seventh spot with 38 points from 28 matches.
Chiefs have been stuck in seventh spot since early December when German coach Ernst Middendorp replaced Italian mentor Giovanni Solinas and they have had difficulties moving up the table.
The 33-year-old midfield workhorse‚ who is in his eighth season at Naturena‚ says he is hurting after seeing fans poking fun at his club.
Some fans have went as far as labeling Amakhosi “7 de Laan” but Katsande says the Soweto giants will have the last laugh.
“You know you hear people making fun of us and it is very painful because Kaizer Chiefs is a big team to be stuck in the same place on the league table for so long‚” said Katsande at the club’s training base in Naturena‚ south of Johannesburg‚ on Thursday.
“But who knows who will have the last laugh? We never know what tomorrow holds for us so for now we lick our own wounds.”
Chiefs host relegation threatened Free State Stars at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday looking for a win that will almost guarantee their spot in next season’s MTN8 competition.
“You never know what tomorrow holds when the sunshine comes maybe my flower can blossom so I think we are going to have the last laugh trust me‚” said Katsande‚ who is expected to play a leading role for Zimbabwe in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt in June and July.
Katsande likened Chiefs’ situation to that of a dying flower that needs to be brought back to life.
Katsande is one of the longest serving players at Chiefs along with Bernard Parker.
He has been a forever present figure in the Amakhosi line up but things look to be different under new coach Middendorp.
The German coach Ernst Middendorp is on record as saying he has no favourites in his team and everyone‚ including Katsande‚ will be benched on occasion as he employs specialized tactics for particular opposition.
Katsande has fallen victim to Middendorp’s rotation policy.
He missed out on the Soweto derby in February and at times found himself on the bench.
But the former Zimbabwe captain says he was never bothered about being left out of the team.
“A professional footballer never gets angry at not playing.
"What I always do is to keep working hard because when I came to this I never came in and started playing‚” says Katsande.
“There was a time when I was playing and someone was not playing so who am I to complain?”