Do Kaizer Chiefs need Willard Katsande? Well, this season, the numbers suggest they are doing just fine without him.
The Zimbabwean has found himself on the sidelines in the club’s three recent matches and surprisingly got 25 minutes in the Soweto Derby against Orlando Pirates last month.
So far this season Katsande has managed 24 domestic appearances, with Amakhosi playing six games without him. Chiefs have won nine matches with their midfield workhorse pulling the strings – a 37.5 per cent win ratio.
But being victors in 66.6 per cent of the games without him will definitely come as a surprise, especially given his impact over the years for Chiefs. It means the Glamour Boys have been able to get the job done four times in the six where Katsande was either an unused substitute or completely left out, the latter being a regular occurrence of late under coach Ernst Middendorp.
Under the previous coach Giovanni Solinas, Katsande was the mainstay of the team and sat out just one match, probably as part of the Italian’s unpopular rotation policy. And Chiefs lost that game.
Middendorp, on the other hand, has made it clear that the 33-year-old, who has been linked with a move to Orlando Pirates – although he still has a year left to run on his Amakhosi contract – will have to fight for his place.
His very first game in charge at Chiefs was without Katsande, who was serving a one-match suspension at the time. It appears that set the tone as Amakhosi stunned SuperSport United with a 1-0 win.