Itumeleng Khune contradicts Kaizer Chiefs on his retirement
Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper and former captain Itumeleng Khune has contradicted the club on the issue of his retirement at the end of the season.
In June Chiefs announced this will be his last playing contract before venturing into coaching and an ambassadorial role with the marketing department next season to continue his long and deep-rooted ties with the club.
However, ahead of the Soweto derby with Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on Saturday, the former Bafana stopper said he respects the club’s statement but he wants to continue competing.
“It will depend on my performances on the field. Every player who is registered in the team is willing to work harder, to compete for a place and give his all for the team with every opportunity they get,” he said.
“There is no difference with me. Whenever I am given an opportunity I will perform so I can get a new contract. I mentioned at the start of the season that my body can carry me until I am over 40.”
Khune, 36, said he is inspired to follow in the footsteps of legendary Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon and Essam El-Hadary of Egypt who played well past 40 years.
“If Buffon could do it until he is 45, El-Hadary could do it until 44, who am I at the age of 36 to entertain the fact that someone has an idea that Itumeleng must retire?
“The club might have released a statement, which is well respected, but at the end of the day I am competing and I have been playing. It will depend on my performances.
“Come the end of the season, we will look at the statistics, what I can still contribute going forward and that’s where they can make another decision. In the past goalkeepers have retired only to come out of retirement to compete again. I am playing and I want to continue competing going forward.”
Khune may be forced to retire because he wants to retire at the club.
“I cannot invest all my time and my energy for the past 25 years with Kaizer Chiefs and come my 26th year I start entertaining ideas of other clubs. I told myself I want to play here until I hang up my gloves.
“I think I have done tremendously well when it comes to that part and if I am forced to retire at the end of the season I can retire peacefully and start focusing on other things. I have never seen myself representing another brand except for Chiefs and Bafana Bafana.”
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