Chiefs coach Baxter: Zuma has learnt from his mistakes and is ready to play
Kaizer Chiefs fan favourite Dumisani Zuma has learnt from his mistakes and is ready for combat if called upon, coach Stuart Baxter has said.
The 26-year-old attacking midfielder almost jeopardised his promising career after he got on the wrong side of the law and into Chiefs’ bad books when he was arrested for drunk driving in November.
Chiefs suspended Zuma days after his arrest and a disciplinary hearing was held. The club later said Zuma was disciplined in line with the club’s code and they would assist him in a rehabilitation process.
It was a dark festive period that threatened his stay at Naturena, but Zuma got a lifeline in January when Chiefs welcomed him back to training.
Amakhosi fans would have been encouraged to see the speedy winger with a knack for scoring important goals on the bench in Chiefs’ last few matches.
“'Dumi' has been doing notably better in training and that’s why he gets selected for the bench,” Baxter said after Zuma was seen among the substitutes in Chiefs' 0-0 DStv Premiership draw against TS Galaxy at FNB Stadium on Tuesday.
“I don't think it's a case of, let's wait six months and after that we can bring him back. This has been because of Dumi conducting himself properly and better, approaching his job in a correct manner and giving performances in training.
“That’s why we think that, if called upon, he's now in a position where he can answer that call.
“I can’t say when he is going to come back into the team as that will depend on a lot of things. It will also depend on Dumi keeping his levels high and making sure he looks after himself and behaves properly.”
Zuma is yet to play this season as a result of a combination of injuries and his off-field issues.
But Baxter said the winger has improved in his fitness and impressed in practise matches.
Zuma has skill and burning pace, an eye for a goal and has endeared himself to the Amakhosi faithful with his habit of coming off the bench and swinging matches in Chiefs' favour.
He seems likely to have opportunities to kick the ball in anger for the first time this season as Chiefs chase a second spot finish, the only available avenue for them to return to the top table of African football in the Caf Champions League.
Chiefs are not involved in this weekend's Nedbank Cup quarterfinals and return to action with their league fixture against SuperSport United on Saturday, April 16.
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