In a statement released on Friday, Kaizer Chiefs officially confirmed that the forthcoming 2023/2024 season will mark the final chapter in the playing career of club legend Itumeleng Khune, who will transition into a coaching role.
Despite his contract initially set to expire at the end of June, the club has decided to extend Khune’s tenure as a player for an additional year, allowing him to gradually shift his focus to off-field responsibilities.
“Itumeleng Khune, Kaizer Chiefs’ captain and the player with the longest-standing tenure, has been awarded a new contract, granting him one last season with Amakhosi, thus culminating his professional journey of two decades,” the club’s official statement stated.
“While Khune will continue to actively participate in training sessions and match preparations as a player, he will also utilize this transitional period to broaden his technical knowledge, as he embarks on his new role as a coach and ambassador within the club’s marketing division.”
Sporting Director Kaizer Motaung Junior, who has shared the pitch with Khune for numerous years, expressed his admiration for the club icon and emphasized the significance of his final season in nurturing the emerging generation.
“It is truly remarkable that Itu, at the age of 36, has dedicated over 20 years to Kaizer Chiefs. This accomplishment speaks volumes about his love for the game, unwavering commitment, and exceptional work ethic, as only a select few manage to achieve such a milestone,” Motaung stated.
“We trust that he will give his absolute best in this ultimate season and generously impart his invaluable experience to the younger players in the team.”
Having made his debut in 2007, Khune currently holds the distinction of being the longest-serving member of the Amakhosi squad, having dedicated a full 16 seasons to the club.
Recently, the Ventersdorp-born goalkeeper was reunited with his long-time mentor and coach, Rainer Dinkelacker, who now serves as the strategic advisor for the goalkeeping department.
Ahead of the new season, Khune will commence his coaching duties with Brandon Peterson and Bruce Bvuma, while the club embarks on a fresh chapter under the guidance of newly appointed head coach, Molefi Ntseki.
In addition to Khune’s farewell season, Kaizer Chiefs also announced the contract extension of 33-year-old defender Sfiso Hlanti for another year.
Conversely, midfielder Cole Alexander will be departing the club, having reached a mutual agreement with the club’s management to settle his remaining contract term.