Former Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns goalkeeper Brian Baloyi has offered advice to Itumeleng Khune, whom he feels has wasted the last few years of his career.
Baloyi says the only way his former Amakhosi teammate can revive his career is a change in his behaviour lately, in order to return to his best and achieve more in the few seasons he has left to play.
As we’ve seen over the past three seasons, Khune’s star has been consistently fading. The Ventersdorp-born star made only one appearance last season, thanks to injury and reports of an ill-suited lifestyle off the pitch.
According to Baloyi, the 34-year-old Khune would do with a shrink and lifestyle change in order to revive his Amakhosi career.
“Itu – we know the talent he has, but it has to come from him believing that he still has it for him to make it,” Baloyi told SABC Sport.
Khune, a former Bafana Bafana number-one, has hardly seen any action at Naturena this past season despite being given a new two-year contract 12 months ago.
Spiderman, as Baloyi is affectionately known, left Chiefs to join Sundowns in 2004 at the age of 30, and played in the FIFA Confederation Cup five years later, only just missing out on the 2010 FIFA World Cup on home soil a few months later.
“Itu – we know the talent he has, but it has to come from him believing that he still has it for him to make it,” Baloyi told SABC Sport during an exclusive interview.
“For me, he needs to change a lot of things, including his lifestyle and make a sacrifice that, ‘I’m sacrificing myself for my last three, four or five years, and forget about everything else.
“Change your lifestyle, and I’m not saying he’s got a bad lifestyle but I’m saying, for him to do this, he’ll need to completely overhaul his lifestyle – family, friends, everything.
“Just put everything into his football, and that includes having a chef, a personal trainer – and not just someone from Virgin Active giving you unnecessary things to do and then you post all of these things [on social media].
“It needs to be someone that will really sit with him and understand that he needs to get him to this level, and this weight, and maintain it for so many years, so that he can be back to his best again.
“If he’s doing all these things and still not playing, I’d say maybe he needs to move then. But, for me, it would be an injustice for him to just finish his career [on the sidelines].
“I mean he hasn’t played [consistently] for three-and-a-half to four years – that’s a lot of time lost! I went to Sundowns when I was 30, I made the FIFA Confed Cup at 36 – I was the fittest I had been in my life because my drive was to make the World Cup squad.
“I sacrificed everything and I put my soul and everything into it, and I made the [initial] team but I was just short of making the World Cup squad. I can’t see why Khune can’t do it.
“I don’t understand why he’s let himself lose so many years, because it’s the most important years in your career as a goalkeeper. But for you to have wasted that much – geez – after having such a beautiful career is an injustice.
“I know maybe as black folk in South Africa, we don’t believe much in psychology. For me, I think he needs a psychologist. He’s got time now – if he invests in that, by the time the next season starts, he would have done a lot of work.
“And, like I said, he needs to work on himself and forget about what everyone else is saying – I think he’s put too much emphasis on caring about what people are saying about him – from the public to coaches.
“Forget about what everybody says and do you. But go out there and claim your place again. For me, I think, if he doesn’t do that, it will be an injustice of his career, from how it started to where it is, to finish in this way.”