THE BREAKDOWN: Why Khune Is Still The Best In Mzansi
Itumeleng Khune's Statistics Set Him Out Above Them All
Despite a relatively quiet season for Itumeleng Khune in 2016/17, he can still claim to be one of the best, if not the best, in the business and today we reveal why.
Khune’s club, Kaizer Chiefs, endured a second consecutive trophyless campaign in the 2016/17 season and Khune recorded his fifth worst shutout record in his career, as well as conceding the sixth most goals, with just 10 clean sheets and 18 goals conceded in his 24 appearances in the Absa Premiership.
It may not be as impressive as the 21 goals conceded in 29 matches and 12 clean sheets that he kept in his PSL Footballer of the Year winning 2012/13 season, but, nonetheless, Khune finds himself amongst the elite in terms of goalkeepers throughout the league, in spite of a relatively poor season by Kaizer Chiefs’ standards, where they finished fourth and conceded 28 goals.
In fact, Khune spent spells on the sidelines through injury and his presence was missed, with just one clean sheet recorded during the six games that he missed in the 30-game league season.
Despite his fitness concerns, the 30-year-old remained at the top of his game when on the pitch and recorded 76 saves, the most in the league and at 3.2 saves per game, the third-highest average per 90 minutes. He also managed to concede the fourth least goals per 90 minutes, with just 0.76 goals conceded per game.
However, he can hardly take the blame for the goals conceded because he managed to save more than four of every five shots fired at him throughout the season, having saved 80.9% of the 103 shots on target that he faced this season – the best save % in the league. In addition to this, he made 4.22 saves per goal conceded, which was also the best figure in the league, with his closest competitor being Mamelodi Sundowns’ Denis Onyango, who fell way behind on 3.67 saves per goal conceded.
In addition to this, what will disappoint Khune is his clean sheet count. However, his 10 clean sheets were the joint highest tally in the league, with the league leader Patrick Tignyemb (12) playing two more games than the Chiefs talisman.
It is quite clear, therefore, that Khune was arguably the best player in his position across the league, featuring near the top, if not right at the top, in each of the abovementioned categories. The only reason that the Bafana Bafana star might consider the recently closed season to not have been one of the best is due to the incredibly high standards that he sets for himself, although, there should be no doubt in fans’ and pundits’ minds that the Ventersdorp star is still a goalkeeper of the very highest quality.
Do you think Khune is still the best goalkeeper in the Absa Premiership?