Kaizer Chiefs back on top of SA football

28 May 2013

Kaizer Chiefs are back on top of South African football after winning both the Premier Soccer League and the Nedbank Cup. Chiefs captain Itumeleng Khune also dominated the PSL Awards on the weekend, putting an exclamation point on the Amakhosi’s fine season.

It was certainly a weekend to remember for Chiefs. It began with victory over SuperSport United in the Nedbank Cup final in Durban on Saturday, and ended in Johannesburg on Sunday with Khune being named Footballer of the Season, the Absa Premiership Player’s Player of the Season, Goalkeeper of the Season and Nedbank Cup Player of the Tournament.

Khune, captain of Chiefs and South Africa, told Sapa he was humbled by the awards he received. “To be recognised as the best player in the PSL, I’m so humbled,” he said.

‘Happy and excited’

“I’m so happy and excited at the same time. I think I have an even bigger challenge next season to defend all the awards that I won this season. All eyes will be on me.”

Khune has also moved to downplay suggestions that he could sign a lucrative contract with an overseas club, saying he had not heard anything from anybody and was thus focusing on playing the next season with the Amakhosi.

Speaking after his side’s win over SuperSport United in the Nedbank Cup, Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter said: “If someone had told me at the start of the season we would win the double I’d ask them what how much they were drinking? But as the season progressed, we all started to believe [we could do it].

‘Immensely proud’

“You’ve got to be happy to come to a club and win the double in your first year. It’s incredible and I’m immensely proud of my players.”

In his first season with Chiefs, the former Bafana Bafana mentor was named Coach of the Year after the club claimed the Nedbank Cup for the first time in seven years and the league honours for the first time in eight years.

“It is a great feeling to win this award,” Baxter told the Kaizer Chiefs’ website. “When you receive a call to coach Kaizer Chiefs it brings lots of pressure especially after the club went through such a long time without winning the league. I thank the supporters for sticking through with the club through thick and thin.”

‘The culture of winning’

Baxter also praised his technical team and the team’s management. He further sounded a warning to other clubs, saying: “It is very important that we continue with the culture of winning.

“We will meet soon and discuss areas that need strengthening in the team. We will be campaigning in Africa which means our squad will need to have more depth.”

SuperSport United coach Gavin Hunt, after seeing his side go down in the Nedbank Cup final, said: “They’re the biggest club in South Africa and your back’s going to be against the wall every time you play them,” he said. “They’re a fantastic football club and you’ve got to commend Kaizer [Motaung] and his family for what they’ve done here.

“When I started playing against them in 1980, it was unbelievable already in those days, and it’s grown into a huge empire.”

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