Kaizer Chiefs starlet Samkelo Zwane opens up on Xavi, Pirlo and Thiago's influence on his game

Samkelo Zwane Kaizer Chiefsbackpagepix
  • Zwane is in his debut PSL season
  • He is one of the Chiefs players bidding for regular football
  • He commented on his progress

WHAT HAPPENED? Zwane made his Premier Soccer league debut in October 2022 and he has gone on to make seven appearances, including four starts, across all competitions. The 21-year-old central midfielder has been facing stiff competition at Chiefs from the likes of Yusuf Maart and Siyethemba Sithebe.

He has managed to keep out veterans Cole Alexander and Phathutshedzo Nange despite the duo’s season being partly affected by injuries.

Zwane has not hidden his ambition to become one of the star players at Naturena and draws inspiration from Italian legend Andrea Pirlo as well as Andres Iniesta and Thiago Alcantara.

WHAT ZWANE SAID: “I would say I am more of a deep-lying playmaker, my strength is to help the team play and distribute the ball to my teammates,” said Zwane as per Sowetan Live.

“Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Thiago Alcantara and Andrea Pirlo towards the end of his career [are among my influences].

“Locally, it is Reneilwe Letsholonyane for sure and he actually coached me at Chiefs when he was doing his coaching badges. He was helping with the development team and he gave us good tips.”

AND WHAT MORE? Zwane opens up on his progress which he feels has been fastly moving for someone who was playing for Chiefs’ reserves last season.

“I can’t even start to explain what happened this season in words, it has just been unbelievable and everything happened so fast,” Zwane said.

“I'm humbled and grateful for the opportunity to play professional football. So far it is going well but there is always room for improvement because you can always go to greater heights and you can never be settled.

“Fortunately for me, I was in the development structures of Kaizer Chiefs and we know about the pressure of playing for this club.

“Coach Arthur Zwane has also explained to us that if you want to play for a big team, you must be able to handle pressure. Maybe at the start [I felt pressure] but I told myself that I must deal with it because there was nothing I can do.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Zwane is one of Chiefs' youngsters battling to cement their place in the first team. He is part of a group of Amakhosi players that include Mduduzi Shabalala who is Amakhosi's biggest revelation this season. While Shabalala has established himself as a regular starter now, that might put pressure on Zwane and another rising star Wandile Duba to become regulars as well.

Also, Zwane and other Amakhosi starlets would be pushing to try and have more influence and overshadow the Mamelodi Sundowns' Cassius Mailula who has become a sensation in the league and is now in the Bafana Bafana set-up.

WHAT NEXT FOR ZWANE? Zwane is currently in camp with South Africa's Under-23 national team. They are set to face Congo Brazzaville for the 2023 Africa Under-23 Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Zwane would be hoping for game time and help South Africa qualify for next year's Olympic Games.

Can any of these clubs challenge Mamelodi Sundowns PSL title dominance in 23/24?

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Can any of these clubs challenge Mamelodi Sundowns PSL title dominance in 23/24?

  • 24%No
  • 20%Kaizer Chiefs
  • 48%Orlando Pirates
  • 4%SuperSport United
  • 1%Cape Town City
  • 3%Other
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