Goal caught up with Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter for an in-depth chat about his captain Itu Khune's performances and future in South Africa or abroadGoal: After winning the Goal South Africa Player of the Year, what next can you ask for in your keeper?
Baxter: I think Itu's challenge is enormous. It is to continue the job he has been doing and the desire to improve despite winning so many individual awards. I think that's his greatest challeng right now, because you have to deal with success the same as you deal with failure and at the moment he has been doing very well.
Goal: What do you think of Khune's performances in 2013?
Baxter: I think many people look at one outstanding save, and if he doesn't make that save then they don't give him the man of the match award, but that's not the way the coach looks at him. I mean you look at your goalkeeper in terms of presence, in terms of communication, in terms of character and even in terms of saves. It's about making lots of them and solid ones, and not giving the opponents any hope that they can be successful against us. I don't look at those spectacular saves. I look at the games where he drives us and to say that was fantastic. It is (just as important) when he catches crosses cleanly and makes his distribution well.
Goal: What do you say to a player of Itu's calibre before the start of every game?
Baxter: All good players work very hard on their game, when they are going out, you don't want to give them a lot of information. What he does he's been doing it for a long period of time. What you need to do is maybe give a couple of reminders. Itu's communication is what's vital to the team, but certainly there's no list of things I expect from him.
Goal: Is there any area of his game that you feel Khune should improve on?
Baxter: I think every player around the world wants to improve even if it's a small area. The moment you think you are complete then that's the moment you start going down. Everybody else is still working and Itu has that attitude, in fact, of wanting to improve.
Goal: What about Khune's ability to play abroad?
Baxter: I think there will come a time when there's a natural progression to move away from Kaizer Chiefs, but I don't wish that now (smiling) obviously. (The progression is when) sometimes if he wants to because he may never want to. He may feel 'I'm comfortable here, I'm doing well for Chiefs, I'm playing for Bafana and I'm enjoying my football'. So it will be a natural progression.