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Kaizer Chiefs' Khune still one of the best in South Africa - Tlale

15:10 GMT+3 23/01/2022
Itumeleng Khune Kaizer Chiefs
The veteran goalkeeper played his first competitive match in five months when he guarded goal for the Warriors on Saturday

Former Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper John Tlale believes Kaizer Chiefs’ Itumeleng Khune is still one of the best in South Africa.

Khune has been enduring a difficult season in which he is yet to make a single Premier Soccer League appearance this season.

After being trusted to guard goal in the MTN8 quarter-finals against Sundowns in August, he has struggled to retain his place in the team.

The closest he got to earning some game minutes in the league was being an unused substitute in Chiefs’ 2-1 win over Baroka FC at the end of August.

Since then, the goalkeeper has been frozen out of the team but fans handed Khune a lifeline when they voted him to start in the DStv Compact Cup semi-finals for Warriors against Amabutho on Saturday.

“I think he will bounce back. I think he will learn from his mistakes and at the moment he's trying to recover,” Tlale told KickOff.

“He's trying to get back to his best at Kaizer Chiefs. Even though he will be under tremendous pressure in the Compact Cup, he will be able to come back. I think he's one of the best even today in Mzansi.

"So he will bounce back, they just need to give him enough chances, he's one brave player that I know. I believe in him.

“To be honest his form has dropped, he is not the same Khune that we knew when he was playing at Kaizer Chiefs previously. But he hasn't become a bad player overnight.”

At Chiefs, Khune is now the fourth-choice goalkeeper with Daniel Akpeyi being the number one.

Bruce Bvuma and Brandon Peterson take turns in sitting on the bench to deputise Akpeyi.

While the situation at Naturena looks dire for Khune, Tlale believes the 34-year-old goal-minder still has age on his side.

“Depending on his lifestyle of course, but goalkeepers can play until they are 40. I played until I was 38 but when I retired I was still okay.”

It is to be seen if Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter has been impressed by the Khune’s Compact Cup exploits to select him when league business resumes.