Itumeleng Khune feels Kaizer Chiefs opponents plot against him
Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune says opponents are beginning to target him which has resulted in mistakes in his game.
‘Itu’ was found wanting during their 1-0 win over Highlands Park, when he tried to launch a quick counter-attack in stoppage time, but was penalised for handling the ball outside of his area.
The error very nearly proved costly for Chiefs as Khune was forced into a glancing save to protect his clean sheet as well as hold onto the three points for his team.
The Bafana Bafana shotstopper has since explained the reason for his “school-boy” error, while voicing his frustration at being impeded by Carlton Mushumba.
“The way it all started… I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s the second game in a row [that it has happened],” Khune explained to reporters on Thursday.
“Every time I want to release the ball to our players I get blocked, and it’s been happening for years. I don’t want to dwell too much on the referee’s decisions, but it affects my game.
“It affects our game because the culture of Kaizer Chiefs goalkeepers is to get the ball released quickly with a side-volley, and these teams – whenever they come up against us – they try to block the keeper from releasing.
“Last night Kapini was out of his goalposts and no players were covering him so, as soon as I got the ball, the one thing I had in mind was just to hit it straight to the back of the net but someone blocked me.”
The 29-year-old gloveman continued: “The way the referee explained it, he said I didn’t go outside the area. I released and then I caught it again, but as soon as you release from your hands you have to kick it.
“I asked him ‘how am I supposed to kick if someone is blocking me?’ Because I’m going to hit him with the ball and if they play on then we concede a goal. It would be stupid of me to make that mistake twice in a row.
“So I got the ball back and as soon as I wanted to release, obviously the movement – I was already moving and I couldn’t [stop].
“That was the judgement, but it was a relief after making that save because it was very difficult to see the ball properly through my own wall and their players.”
Khune further admitted to being targetted by his opponents, and believes teams now plot against his distribution skills.
“I am targetted by players, and teams plan against me,” he added. “Even coach Steve [Komphela] always makes fun of the fact that, [with] the teams he coached before, that’s what he has been doing.
“‘As soon as ‘Itu’ catches the ball just make sure that he doesn’t release quicker’, because that’s the culture of Kaizer Chiefs goalkeepers – from Rowen Fernandez, Brian Baloyi, Emile Baron, to our current generation.
“We’ve been using that [quick distribution] as our weapon, and it’s been working, so we always laugh about it but in today’s matches coaches plan against goalkeepers to stop them from releasing.
“Unfortunately, I make such mistakes. Some call it ‘school-boy errors’, but I wouldn’t make that if I wasn’t impeded.”
The former junior international ‘keeper now feels it may be time to reinvent his strategies in order to overcome the challenge of opponents blocking his passage to pick out a teammate with his educated right-foot.
“We have to find a way to deal with the situation. As a goalkeeper, we have the luxury of using our hands and feet so if I can’t release with my foot then I’ll have to throw it.
“However, last night, all I had in mind was to side-volley it into the back of the net… But ja, we’ll find ways to deal with these situations and come up with a solution,” he concluded.