Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune’s failure to try and keep out Stellenbosch midfielder Nhlanhla Mgaga’s shot raises questions.
On another day, the goal let in by Chiefs could have proven more costly and when watched again, it’s difficult to understand why Khune ran away from his goal rather than at least attempting to save the ball.
Of course, we don’t know what went through the goalkeeper’s mind in the heat of the moment. But replays suggest that Khune vacated his goal in annoyance after Njabulo Blom had lost the ball in a dangerous position to Mgaga.
Blom himself had received a bit of a hospital pass from Edmilson Dove.
It seemed as if Khune was more concerned about Blom’s blunder – than trying to rectify the situation because Mgaga’s shot was from the edge of the box and was a rather average one which went straight down the centre. There did seem to be enough time to react.
Once the ball was in the back of the net, Khune again showed his frustration, jumping up and down.
One can only imagine how the young Blom felt – watching as his captain exaggerated the initial mistake rather than trying to fix things with a save. It was instead Keagan Dolly who consoled Blom.
Nine minutes later the veteran goalie had to leave the field through injury and it will remain to be seen if he reclaims his place once fit again.
After barely playing for two seasons, it had been starting to look as if his time at Chiefs might be coming to an end and that retirement or a move to another club would be necessary.
But that all changed when Khune was given a chance in an MTN8 game against Stellenbosch FC. He made two decent saves in the penalty shootout though it could be argued that the spot kicks were weak and should have been saved by most keepers.
Nevertheless, Khune had played well and was restored as the team’s number one. His confidence was seemingly restored too as he appeared with dyed hair for the next game, ready to step back into the limelight.
Keeping a low profile is not his style and he then made headlines after pointing the finger at his own wife for his weight issues during the time he had been sidelined from action.
He then followed that up by blaming another individual – former Amakhosi goalkeeper coach Lee Baxter, for his weight problems.
In both cases, it just did not seem necessary to blame others, even more so now that Khune was starting to play regularly again and put the past behind him.
In the few games he played, Khune did put in some decent performances, though he was not overly tested by the opposition. At times he looked shaky on aerial balls – opponents seemed to target this.
But to his credit, Khune was solid enough overall and did help get his team playing from the back with his outstanding distribution.
And so while he had been making decent progress on the comeback trail, he was far from getting back to the best we’ve seen from him over the past 15 or so seasons.