Katsande ready for CAF battle

Kaizer Chiefs begin their quest for glory this weekend, when they host Namibia’s Black Africa at the Moses Mabhida Stadium here. The Naturena-based side are under pressure to emulate or even surpass the recent exploits of Soweto rivals, Orlando Pirates, who reached the final to repeat a feat they surpassed in 1995.

Willard Katsande
Willard Katsande

Pirates remain the only Southern African side to have won the tournament, but Chiefs, who are yet to do well in the Champions League, have their own stake at claim, having won the old version of the CAF Confederations Cup in 2001, the same year they were voted African Club of the Year.

They are yet to make an impression in the Champions League, but their Zimbabwean midfielder, Willard Katsande, believes t they will do well this time, coming back from a three-year-ban imposed on them by the CAF.

“I believe we have what it takes to stand the heat,” said the defensive midfielder early this week. “We are not under any pressure and for us it is not about competing with the records of any club, but wanting to make an impression for Chiefs and its supporters. We have a master tactician in coach Stuart Baxter and I believe that will be another advantage for us. We also have a strong team that is playing well so far.”

The Amakhosi, who recently made a statement of intent in the Absa Premiership when they achieved eight straight wins in a row, go into this tie in high spirits and are expected to make light weight of the little-known Namibians.

“The mood in the camp is very good. We are training hard and the technical team has created a great environment for us to enjoy our work. We have to shift gears, focus and be ready for the coming assignment against Swallows,” said the hard-tackling Katsande, who was not fazed by the heavy schedule they have now.

“I am ready and I think my teammates will say the same thing. We have a good and capable squad to do well in the upcoming games. We will not play all the competitions in one game; we have to take it one game at the time. We have to adjust to the demands of each and every game.”

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