giants Kaizer Chiefs in a surprise move from Ajax Cape Town.
Katsande, in only in his second season in the Absa Premiership, moved to the bigger club when he joined Amakhosi on a three year deal on Saturday afternoon.
The move came just four days after the former Highway and Gunners midfielder’s man-of-the match performance in the Warriors 2-0 winning cause over Zambian in an international friendly at Rufaro.
Interestingly, it emerged yesterday that Katsande’s fine showing, which he capped with his first Warriors’ goal on the stroke of half time, sealed his Amakhosi deal.
For the 85 minutes that he had been on the pitch, Katsande – who put on a commanding show as he drove the Warriors engine room – had done enough to convince a watching Kaizer Chiefs Football Manager Bobby Motaung to sign the player.
Motaung was in the capital last week together with Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Donald “Ace” Khuse and the duo watched the Warriors encounter against Chipolopolo in the company of Katsande’s manger Edzai Kasinauyo of Tamba Sport International.
Kaizer Chiefs had also been targeting Justice Majabvi who had a 10-day trial stint at the club and France-based Ovidy Karuru before settling for Katsande.
The Soweto giants are also understood to be still interested in FC Platinum defender Lincoln Zvasiya who their Serbian coach Vladmir Vermezovic is still assessing.
However, Kasinauyo, speaking from Johannesburg yesterday revealed that Chiefs had been tracking Katsande since the 26 year-old midfielder arrived at Ajax Cape Town where he however, had had cameo roles for much of last season. But if there were any lingering doubts on the minds on of Motaung and Khuse, they were left convinced that Katsande would fit the bill following his stellar show for his national team.
Kasinauyo said Katsande was now expected to undergo a medical at Naturena today to complete his move.
Katsande could make his Chiefs debut as early as Wednesday night when Amakhosi visit Gilbert Mapemba and Oscar Machapa’s Moroka Swallows at Dobsonville or could be reserved to make his debut against Ajax Cape Town in the MTN8 semi-final tie.
“Chiefs bought him from Ajax and we are just putting the final touches to his three year contract.
“He is arriving today from Cape Town and soon after the medical everything will be concluded,” Kasinauyo said.
But what prompted Chiefs to settle for Katsande?
“It’s a matter of looking at the type of player that Willard is and Kaizer Chiefs believe he can fit in very well and him being able to play well with Tinashe (Nengomasha) is a bonus to them”.
Kasinauyo also spoke highly of the midfielder, who staked a huge claim for regular place in the Warriors after the senior team’s friendly against Zambia and insisted that Chiefs had not brought him on “as anyone’s replacement”.
“Willard is a big talent that is waiting to explode and I believe he will be a big benefit to both club and country.
“It’s not a matter of replacing anyone or being earmarked to replace anyone but for combining with what they have. They believe that going forward he will add quality to their side.
“Definitely his performances for the national team against Mali and Zambia helped to convince Chiefs that he is the kind of midfielder they want.
“He is such a different player compared to many of the midfielders that we have because he can mark and he can attack. Against Mali and Zambia he showed that he is a modern midfielder who can
play a holding role, a central role or attacking role and that is one of the qualities that impressed Chiefs the most.
“It is the same scenario with players like Khama Billiat and Knowledge Musona . . . you can play them on the left, right as strikers or midfielders.
“Those are the qualities that coaches the world over are looking for these days and I think our coaches back home need to identify and develop more of such players because this will help our clubs and our national team,” Kasinauyo said.
Meanwhile Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa was left ruing missed chances after his Black Leopards outfit lost 2-0 to champions Orlando Pirates on their return to the Premiership in Polokwane on Friday night.
The match had been dubbed a revenge mission for Leopards after they lost to Pirates in the Nedbank Cup final last season.
Pirates new signing Benni McCarthy, playing his first game in the PSL after 14 years, scored for the champions.
According to reports from South Africa, Lidhoda Duvha coach Sunday Chidzambwa rued missed chances and vowed that his team will come back.
“We gave away two easy goals and also we couldn’t convert the few chances that came our away. It was not our day, which is how football goes.
“For me this is not a bad start, we had a couple of players who didn’t play today (Friday) and if we add those players I think we can survive,” Chidzambwa said.
Pirates coach Julio Ceasar Leal, expressed his happiness on the performance of his team as a whole and also showered McCarthy with praises.
“It was a good game, we played very well, calm and comfortable. A very offensive approach and by chance we got one goal about 20 minutes into the first half, that gave us the freedom to express ourselves more with the ball. In the second half, when the offensive was going down, we brought in Benni who came with the second goal and I am very happy.
“It is the beginning of the season and we collected three points away. I am very happy,” Leal said.