Katsande still hopeful of Chiefs success despite prolonged lockdown break

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By Sports Reporter

FORMER Warriors captain Willard Katsande remains optimistic that his South African side, Kaizer Chiefs will come back even stronger when the Absa Premiership season resumes as the Soweto side seeks to end a five-year trophy drought by winning this year’s title.

The veteran hard-tackling midfielder has been an integral part of the Kaizer Chiefs side which was leading the championship race before the South African PSL abruptly suspended the race due to the coronavirus panic.

Katsande however remains hopeful the forced Covid-19 break will not disrupt their championship aspirations and form.

South Africa is currently on a 35-day national lockdown that has left footballers following their coaches’ training programmes at home.

The Zimbabwean international’s biggest fear is that the Soweto giants might come back slower or carry on with the form from where they left off when the season stopped.

Katsande (34) admitted the situation of staying at home and doing nothing was beginning to get to him and his teammates.

“These are scary moments for us,” Katsande said.

“But we have no choice but to follow what the healthcare professionals want us to do. We must all be careful in order not to transmit the disease from one person to another; stay home, use sanitisers and maintain social distancing.

“The number of infected people is growing and we have to play our role as soccer players to educate people about the danger of this virus.”

He admitted the lockdown period carried the risk of derailing them from the track.

“It’s always difficult to come back to the form of your past after such a break. But we will be on top of our game,” he said.

“As a professional, you must get back on the horse and ride towards the finish line at high speed.”

Chiefs lost 1-0 to bottom side AmaZulu in their last league match at the FNB Stadium on 6 March, but it still left them top of the log with 48 points from 22 games, four points ahead of second place Mamelodi Sundowns.

They were due to host Bidvest Wits at the same venue before the PSL suspended league matches.

With eight games to go before the end of the season, Katsande is crossing his fingers that they will return to their league campaign with their scoring boots on.

“We have to work on our sharpness and play two to three friendly games before we can resume our league schedule. That may help,”

Katsande said coach Ernst Middendorp gave every player a training programme to follow during the lockdown.

“It’s a matter of maintaining your fitness.

“I’m injured and the physiotherapist gave me my own programme. It’s difficult when you are working from home as you are alone without your teammates and the team doctors.

“But we will continue to follow the programme until we are reunited again,” said Katsande.