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Katsande longs for Warriors return

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KAIZER Chiefs midfielder Willard Katsande says he longs for a return to the Warriors after being snubbed for the Sunday’s 2014 World Cup football qualifier against Egypt to be played at the National Sports Stadium (NSS).

Report b Henry Mhara

The 27-year-old had a successful season with Amakhosi, winning the South African league title and the Nedbank Cup.

The former Highway and Gunners man was on Friday named Chiefs’ Most Improved Player to cap what has been a hugely triumphant season for him.

He believes the exposure and experience gained at Chiefs can add value to the Warriors.

“It has been an amazing season for me, and I now feel that I am ready to go back and play for the national team. The things that I have learnt at Kaizer Chiefs are incredible and I have grown more in my game,” Katsande said.

The gritty midfielder was a vital cog in the previous Warriors team before it was disbanded late last year after their failure to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations finals staged in South Africa this year. His last game for the Warriors ended in tears as he was red-carded for an off-the-ball incident at the NSS against Burundi.

And while some of his teammates like Khama Billiat, Knowledge Musona, Lincoln Zvasiya and Cuthbert Malajila have been recalled into the new-look Warriors team, Katsande has once again been overlooked by new coach Klaus Dieter Pagels.

While Katsande’s exclusion, as expected, has sparked uproar among the general public, Pagels has maintained his stance that the gritty midfielder does not fit into the tiki-taka system that he has introduced to the team.

“I have explained on the issue of Katsande many times before and do not want to continue talking about it. He simply does not fit in my system of play,” Pagels told our sister paper, The Standard, this week.

In his six-month tenure at the helm of the Warriors, Pagels has so far been known for disregarding pressure from supporters to include players of their preferred choice.

He has remained resolute in his decision to ignore English second-tier side Charlton Athletic star midfielder Bradley Pritchard, who had a brilliant season with his club, as well as Poland-based defender Costa Nhamoinesu, who has also been instrumental in the success of his side Zaglebie Lubin.

Lubin are on the brink of Europa League qualification and so good has been Nhamoinesu in that quest that he has been linked with a move to a Spanish top-flight team. Instead, Pagels seems to be pre-determined in his selection of players for the national team as he continues to call players who are seeing little or no game time at their respective clubs.

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