KAIZER Chiefs midfielder Willard Katsande was on Friday night voted the team’s Most Improved Player to complete a remarkable season for the gritty player who helped his ABSA Premiership side to a double in the just-ended season.
Report by Henry Mhara
The 27-year-old was handed a R25 000 cheque for his efforts to add up to the Absa premiership title and the Nedbank Cup he won with his team.
Katsande, who joined Chiefs from Ajax Cape Town two seasons ago, had a great season with Amakhosi, playing in 24 of the team’s 30 matches.
Last week, his coach Stuart Baxter singled him out as one of the four outstanding players for Chiefs alongside Bafana Bafana trio of goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, defender Tefu Mashamaite and striker Bernard Parker in the past season.
Katsande, who continues to be snubbed by the Warriors coach Klaus Pagels, said he was thankful to Baxter for helping him settle at the team.
“The coach has helped me a lot to be the player that I am today. He gave me the right advice in every game and training sessions. I put in a lot of hard work and I think these awards are because of that hard work. I have to thank my teammates for their support and encouragement and I will continue to work hard and improve my game,” Katsande said.
Baxter summed up Katsande’s season in the last term. “He was a rash-tackling hooligan and unreliable when I got here, but as the season went on he came out well. He is easily the best central midfielder in the country,” Baxter commented on Katsande’s role.
“We played a friendly and he gave away a penalty by almost breaking someone’s leg. Then we played Free State Stars and he kicked someone up the backside. I told him to learn the job as a defensive midfielder, or he has no future with this club. He told me I should teach him how to do this job and he turned out to be a modern defensive midfielder. He gave us balance,” said Baxter.