Kaizer Chiefs and coach Stuart Baxter have paid a special tribute to ‘club icon’ Willard Katsande.
The Glamour Boys released the 35-year-old midfielder along with Kgotso Moleko, Philani Zulu and Brylon Petersen on Tuesday, while Lazarus Kambole, Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya and Yagan Sasman have all been placed on the transfer list.
Katsande had published an emotional farewell letter on Wednesday, thanking the club, in particular chairman Kaizer Motaung and the fans – for 10 years at Naturena and Baxter has now also sung praises on the veteran midfielder.
“So Willard played for me obviously in the first my first time with Chiefs. And Willard was a warrior, he was a warrior wearing gold, black and he was he was Chiefs. He became Chiefs through and through,” Baxter said.
“So every player goes through phases in his career. Itu who is sitting next to me, he’s been through faces, and you adapt to a phase.
“Alan Shearer was a player that was he was quick, and he was dangerous, up until he had a very bad injury. And then after that he became very clever in the box, very strong, holding off defenders. He adjusted.
“Willard went through those phases, and Willard adjusted. And at some point, you know, players say, ‘well, my role is such that I don’t really want to do that I want to move on’.
“Now, Willard’s role, I’m sure that he will have a roll with Kaizer Chiefs in the future, because he’s been an icon of the club.
“The same as the day that Itu wants to hang up his gloves, I’m sure that there’ll be a job for him at Kaizer Chiefs because he’s an icon of the club.
“So Willard has been a warrior for me, personally, it’s been a great pleasure for me. And I think he’s one of those players that can be an example to other South African players because he has made himself into a player who’s not the most talented player in the world. He wasn’t the most gifted player in the world. Things didn’t come easy to Willard Katsande.
“He made sure he learned the game. He made sure that he did what he was good at. And he made a very good career out of it. And he will always be an icon of this football club.”
Chiefs have also published a special tribute for their midfielder, who joined them from Ajax Cape Town in 2011.
Katsande made 326 appearances for the Glamour Boys, including 28 in his final campaign with the club. He has lifted four trophies during his time with the Glamour Boys.