Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE international, Willard Katsande, says his dream is to win the CAF Champions League, and play at the Club World Cup, before leaving the football stage.
Katsande is part of the Kaizer Chiefs side that elbowed out Moroccan giants, Wydad Casablanca, to book a place in the final for the first time. Chiefs were 1-0 aggregate winners, following a goalless draw, at the FNB Stadium, on Saturday night. The Glamour Boys will now meet Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly, who thrashed Esperance 4-0 on aggregate, in the other semi-final.
“Nelson Mandela once said it seems impossible until it is done,’’ Katsande told The Herald.
‘‘So, it is possible for me, a son of the soil, who was once a herd boy in Mutoko but look, now, I am playing in the final of Africa’s biggest tournament.
“We are hungry for it, and need to win too for Southern Africa and contribute to the history of this club. Generations and generations will be reminded of our achievement, so we just need to use this opportunity and make it possible.”
After a poor season, in which he wasn’t on good books with former coach Gavin Hunt, the midfielder is happy with how things have changed, for the better.
‘‘My dream is to win it and we will go very hard, very aggressive, to try to win it,” he said.
“I am happy to qualify for the final, I didn’t have a good season, in the league.
“But, I managed to play the last four games, and there was a difference. I played when the team needed me most, and managed to deliver and didn’t disappoint.
“I am quite impressed with the way I ended the season and where we are. We managed to do well, as a team, after a tough season, in which we managed to finish in the top eight.”
The club fired Hunt and replaced him with Stuart Baxter. However, it is Chiefs legend, Arthur Zwane, who has turned the club’s fortunes around.
“So far, so good, we are enjoying our game and we managed to progress to the finals,’’ said Katsande.
“We managed to prove the doubters wrong, a lot people were saying negative things.
‘‘Yes, it’s part of the profession, but it’s not nice for a team like Kaizer Chiefs to be mocked in that way. We are very happy as a team, it’s not how you started but how you finish. At the moment we are in the right frame of mind.
“The technical team came in, and managed to restore confidence, the balance, the structure.
‘‘They made it clear from day one, so, we really appreciate, the working environment is good but we can only do better.”
Saturday’s match, just like the first leg, was tough for the Soweto giants.
The visitors had 58 percent of the ball possession, compared to Chiefs’ 42 percent.
Wydad had an 88 percent pass accuracy and Chiefs had 76 percent.
“Dominating ball possession and goal attempts doesn’t matter,’’ said Katsande.
‘‘Sometimes, you need to play pretty ugly, in order for you to get the result. We managed to stick to our game plan, which was what we executed.
‘‘We knew we needed to suffer, in order to book a ticket, into the final. Now it’s time for us to rest a bit and recharge for the final.”
He said they have a good chance against Al Ahly, the continent’s number one football club.
“Al Ahly have a good history in this tournament but it all goes down to 90 minutes, who wants it more, and who wants it so badly,’’ said Katsande.
“Going into this game, no one gave us a chance. At the end of the day, those prepared to run more, and die on the field, are likely to get the result.
“We respect them, because of what they have achieved in this tournament but, at the same time, we also want to make history. We want to make our mark in this tournament.
“We want to taste it, we are actually thinking of winning it, and going on to play FIFA Club World Cup. It is something which is important. Some of us are towards the end of our careers so there is a lot to play for.”