Kaizer Chiefs defender Teenage Hadebe has leaped to the defence of their under-fire backline, particularly reserve goalkeeper Virgil Vries.
Chiefs’ defensive organisation and performances have come under heavy scrutiny in recent weeks, with the team having conceded six goals in their last four games in the new year.
Though fingers have long since been pointed towards the central defence, stretching back to the start of the season with the likes of Daniel Cardoso and Mario Booysen taking most of the flak, Hadebe has recently been brought in by new coach Ernst Middendorp to try and solidify the back door.
However, the Zimbabwean has also since experienced a heightened level of criticism after they conceded five goals in their last two encounters but is confident clean sheets will come eventually.
“For sure, I’m happy now that I’m getting game-time and I’m sure it’s a good improvement for me from last season, but I have to keep giving the best,” said Hadebe.
“I waited for my chance [this season] and I think I’m doing well, but at the back we just need to keep it simple so we can keep clean-sheets because fans are complaining that we are conceding.”
Vries has also had to content with comparisons to long-serving first-choice shotstopper Itumeleng Khune, but Hadebe feels the Namibian international deserves a chance as “no-one is perfect”.
“I’d say maybe it was communication [that led to the team conceding] – we didn’t communicate very well. I’m sure that’s why we conceded such easy goals,” said Hadebe.
“I’m sure Virgil is a good keeper, he’s the one communicating with us at the back and I know some people are starting to blame him but he’s a good keeper.
“You saw how he performed against Black Leopards [in the Telkom Knockout first round] and he has been keeping clean-sheets, but now people are starting to complain.
“That’s how football is – the top goalkeepers make mistakes, and no-one is perfect.”