Saturday, 20 September 2014

VIDEO AND WORDS: Willard Katsande: the unsung hero on his key role in tonight's MTN8 final

BOOM! Willard Katsande scores against Pirates
WILLARD KATSANDE could well be the anonymous workman at this evening's MTN8 final against Orlando Pirates in Durban. But don't be deceived. Even on a bad day he plays a huge role in the Kaizer Chiefs machine, unbeaten in NINE games so far this season.

To me, the 28-year-old Zimbabwean is head-and-shoulders ahead of his PSL rivals as "the destroyer" and eminently capable of doing better than, say, Mikel Arteta as Arsenal's defensive midfielder given his form over the last two years under Stuart Baxter. So often the unsung hero, he is the man coach Stuart Baxter NEVER rests.

The Soweto Durbsy (as I'm calling it) could even be decided by "Salt 'n Vinegar" (Willard's was a famous brand of potato crisps in this country), having scored the only goal in the Soweto Derby in front of 90,000 at Soccer City earlier this year.

"It was incredible to score my first goal for the club in THAT game, but for me, I'm not promising to score in Durban. My job is to break down the opposition attack, to give the defence balance. That's what I'm focused on.

"To score is a bonus for me, my job is to help Kaizer Chiefs win the game."

A response typical of the man.

Nominated on the three-man shortlist with Sbu Vilakazi (Bidvest Wits) and Alje Schut (Mamelodi Sundowns) as Player of the Season last term, Katsande says: "That was the highlight of my career, I will cherish that memory.

"When you are growing up as a player, it is a dream to play for a club like Kaizer Chiefs, the biggest club in Africa. As a youngster I played for Gunners in Harare and we beat Al Ahly. But now my life is a dream.

"The only disappointment at the moment is that Zimbabwe were knocked out of the AFCON qualifiers by Tanzania earlier this year. Preparation for international games in Zimbabwe needs to be fixed."

Final words: Willard's SMS this morning
On the thorny subject of discipline - I used to called him Cardsande for his ability to pick up cautions - the typically modest but always crisp Willard response is: "I am learning. Tinashe Nengomasha recommended me to Kaizer Chiefs and he is the one who tells me: work on your interceptions. You don't always have to make the tackle if you intercept.

"You have to be 100 percent sure you are going for the ball otherwise they are going to book you. I am working on that!"

The full Willard Katsande interview is available below. You can see me change from Orlando Pirates shirt to Kaizer Chiefs at around 10mins. I am neutral on the Soweto rivals. But on this I have bias: Willard Katsande is the kind of bloke who makes you happy to do your job.

Watch him carefully today at the Moses Mabhida. Watch the work he does. How many times he himself gets clobbered but gets up smiling. All youngsters should watch and learn.

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1 comment:

  1. He has been the best at that position. Chiefs never really missed Nengomasha.