JOHANNESBURG-Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune refused to point fingers at his ever-changing defence for the goals conceded in their Soweto Derby defeat on Saturday.
Amakhosi fell yet again to arch-rivals Orlando Pirates as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to stretch their winless Derby streak to 10 consecutive matches.
One of the key talking points in the build-up to the clash was coach Giovanni Solinas’s constant rotation of his team, particularly in central defence, which has seen several different partnerships this season.
This was again the case as Mario Booysen and Siyabonga Ngezana were paired for only the third time on the weekend, with the result then giving further credence to the debate of consistency.
However, Khune guarded against criticism of having to adjust to a constantly evolving defence ahead of him and defended that the players have accepted the coach’s philosophy of offering equal opportunities to the squad.
“There’s no difference with whoever is playing in front of me. The coach believes in all the players, and we believe in all of us and whoever gets the chances to play,” said Khune.
“We keep working on the combinations in training and even during other matches. The coach has asked all the players if any of us haven’t received or haven’t gotten a chance to play.
“We all have played a couple of matches, because he’s got a big squad with great players so he’s trying to manage it by giving everyone a run in the team.
“And that’s what he has done, that’s his philosophy – to give all the players a chance to play and to make everyone happy, and we’re here to support him as players.”
The Bafana Bafana shot-stopper also refused to blame the level of communication with his defence despite this seemingly having been the case during both goals he conceded – one from a poorly defended corner and the second from a cross that could have been intercepted.
“Whenever we’re called upon to do duty, we have to play. No matter who’s playing in front of me, I’m a goalkeeper and a leader of the team, I have to make sure I manage and communicate with my back four,” he argued.
“But I cannot blame the level of communication. It was too loud. Yes, I tried to communicate with them with my whistle, which is loud enough but [at the Derby] every supporter steals it away from me because you hear a lot of vluits [whistles] around the stadium.
“Players would then get confused, not knowing whether it’s me or not. But, the first goal we conceded was just a lack of concentration and we didn’t stick to our positions that we were assigned to.
“So, it’s something we need to go back and look at in the videos, rectify it and move forward.” Kickoff