To play 200 games at senior level in any sport is a huge achievement. To reach 200 games playing for one club is remarkable. Zimbabwe and Kaizer Chiefs hardman, Willard Katsande will become only the third player in the current Amakhosi squad to reach a 200-game milestone after Itumeleng Khune and Siphiwe Tshabalala when they lock horns with Cape Town City on Wednesday 13 September.
The 31-year-old defensive midfielder made his Kaizer Chiefs debut against Orlando Pirates on September 10, 2011 and has grown to become one of Kaizer Chiefs strong-holds since then. Soca263 editor Alex Majoka took time to chat to Katsande ahead of his huge achievement.
AM: Makorokoto Blah Widzo, you will reach your 200th appearance for Kaizer Chiefs against Cape Town City on Wednesday, how is the feeling?
Katsande: Bro it’s a good feeling to reach this milestone at a club like Chiefs. I’m writing my own history in their history books. When I’m done with soccer I will be remembered here as a legend.
AM: True-True Blah Widzo. Thank you for rising the Zim flag high. That’s really an outstanding achievement. Which game stands out for you, the one that you always remember?
Katsande:The one that we played against Orlando Pirates in March 2014 when I scored my first (official) goal for Chiefs. That was one hell of a game for me. (Chiefs won 1-0).
AM: What about the one (game) that you always want to forget about?
Katsande: When I scored an own goal against Mamelodi Sundowns (30 April 2016, Sundowns won 3-1).
AM: Who has been your source of inspiration, both local and abroad?
Katsande: Local – in Zim was Benjamin Nkonjera, abroad I have Yaya Toure and Xavi Alonso.
AM: Besides the midfield position, what other positions have you tried playing and which one do you prefer?
Katsande: My first start at Chiefs I played right-back 90 minutes and I got man-of-the-match. I also tried CB (Center-Back) but I prefer defensive midfielder.
AM: Do you have a certain diet that you practice while training or during the season?
Katsande: Ofcourse bro, I have guidelines, but I eat Sadza (Pap), Veggies and drink fruit juices mostly.
AM: You once had time at Chiefs with another Zim great, Tinashe Nengomasha who played 311 games in his 11-year period at Amakhosi. What has been the greatest advice he has given you?
Katsande: He said every game at Chiefs is a cup final and it is as good as your last, so give everything.
AM: Do you have a special routine or superstition before you play a big game?
Katsande: Nah, I treat every game the same. I just play my music before the game.
AM: You have worked under Vladimir Vermezovic, Stuart Baxter and now Steve Kompela so far at Chiefs.Who has impacted the most on your career?
Katsande: Everyone contributed in a different way towards my career, it’s unfair to single out one.
AM: I understand you are a father, and you have a beautiful little boy. Do you see him following your footsteps?
Katsande: Yes, he is going to be a star, but he likes to be a striker.
AM: Hahaha. That’s good. Who is his idol then?
Katsande: He likes Cristiano (Ronaldo).
AM: Chiefs manager, Bobby Motaung recently admitted in the news that Amakhosi are in need of an impact striker, besides your son ofcourse, which current Zim forward would you recommend?
Katsande: Evans Rusike is the perfect fit.
AM: What do you do on your off-time. What’s your favorite pastime?
Katsande: Am always in doors watching series, drama and try to think outside the box.
AM: Okay. Are you close to your Kaizer Chiefs teammates? Who do you spend time with the most?
Katsande: Eish bro, I don’t hang around much with my teammates.
AM: Haha, Okay. Would you consider a coaching job after you retire playing?
Katsande: Yes bro, I need to coach my national team.
AM: That’s good. Lastly, What advice can you give to Zim youngsters aiming to succeed in the SA premier league?
Katsande: Work hard, Stay humble and hungry.