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Itumeleng Khune still has much to offer Kaizer Chiefs‚ says coach Stuart Baxter

Itumeleng Khune still has much to offer Kaizer Chiefs‚ and with Daniel Akpeyi and reserve keepers Bruce Bvuma and new signing Brandon Petersen seemingly in form‚ Amakhosi have “four No.1s” in 2021-22‚ coach Stuart Baxter has said.

Baxter‚ speaking on his keepers‚ dropped an exciting piece of information for himself and Chiefs’ goalkeeper-coach and his son Lee‚ who is in Sweden with his wife expected to give birth this week. Hence a situation where Chiefs’ head coach became a grandfather this week‚ and goalkeeper-coach a father.

Lee Baxter is credited with sterling work‚ utilising technology to the maximum‚ in bringing Chiefs’ long-time reserve keeper Bvuma to his potential. Nigeria international Akpeyi has also produced some of his best work under Baxter.

The two starred in the each leg of Amakhosi’s dramatic Caf Champions League semifinal shock of Wydad Athletic.

Khune (34)‚ in a torrid few years in his career‚ continued to battle injuries and form in the first part of last season‚ then-coach Gavin Hunt revealing he had a word with Chiefs’ talismanic keeper about his loss of hunger and love for the game. The ex-Bafana Bafana No.1 showed signs of improved form in the second part of 2020-21.

In Sunday’s penalties win against Orlando Pirates in the pre-season Carling Black Label Cup‚ Khune pulled off one particularly striking save with his legs from Thembinkosi Lorch‚ and controlled his area with some of his old authority before being replaced by Petersen. Petersen made the decisive two saves in the shootout.

“The goalkeeper-coach‚ Lee‚ is in Sweden at the moment. His wife is giving birth‚ so he was on Zoom with all the goalkeepers‚” Baxter said‚ asked about Khune and Petersen’s performances against Pirates.

“And what he told the goalkeepers I can share with you – he told them that Kaizer Chiefs have got four No.1s. And they are fighting – they can be a no.4 one day and playing the next.

“And we are blessed. I mean you saw Brandon’s performance when he came on.

“‘Itu’ was more like the Itu who I know from before – his distribution‚ his shot-stopping and his agility.

“I think Itu has committed himself now to being dedicated to going as far as he can in his career – it’s not over yet. And the other three are fighting him for that No.1 spot.

“So it gives us a headache‚ but that’s a headache I’ll take any day of the week.”

Ex-Ajax Cape Town and Bidvest Wits keeper Brandon Petersen (26)‚ signed without a club this month‚ should not be confused with Brylon Petersen (25)‚ the ex-Chiefs reserve who was released this month and on Wednesday joined Maritzburg United.

Chiefs have a fifth keeping prospect in their ranks in 18-year-old Bontle Molefe.

– TimesLIVE

Source: ARENA Holdings.