Klate has sights set on PE‚ but can stand one more year of Hunt's brutal training first

14 July 2017 - 13:55 By Marc Strydom
Bidvest Wits's winger Daine Klate receives a medal after the Absa Premiership match against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on May 26, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Bidvest Wits's winger Daine Klate receives a medal after the Absa Premiership match against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on May 26, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Daine Klate wants to move back to Port Elizabeth and train young soccer players‚ but he’s got at least one more season‚ even at 32‚ that he can sustain Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt’s brutal training regime first.

As Klate’s career winds down‚ though not slowly‚ the PSL’s most decorated player notching another league title with Wits in 2016-17‚ one can forgive him for his thoughts drifting to the Eastern Cape‚ where he has not lived since leaving to join Safa’s School of Excellence 18 years ago.

Asked at the PSL Awards this week‚ where Klate won the MTN8’s Last Man Standing‚ if he has intentions of gravitating to coaching at Wits‚ Klate replied: “Not really. I want to move back to PE – that’s the most important thing for me‚ with my family. And live a content life.

“I’ve been away from home since I was 14. So obviously I’m thinking of going back‚ and giving back to the people of PE‚ and opportunities that I can create for young players down there.”

Klate’s noises he has made of a return to his home city in media interviews recently have prompted speculation he might have thoughts of leaving Wits – perhaps even spending a year playing for Chippa United.

At his age‚ sustaining the training regime of Hunt – who Klate has won four league titles with‚ including the three in succession at SuperSport United in 2008 to 2010 – cannot be easy.

“I’m with Wits obviously for now. That’s where my focus is for the next year at least‚ and then I’ll have a look at it again‚” the little left winger said.

“Obviously I’m at a stage now where I have to take it year by year‚ and see how the passion goes. The day the passion goes that’s going to be a problem.

“But for now the passion and the hunger are still there.

“Gavin treats everybody equal. Whether you’re a senior player or not you have to push yourself.

“And I know I can push myself‚ and know my limits. Gavin won’t push me too much‚ because of the age – he understands it.

“But I’m still going to work hard. It’s not going to be anything easier for me than any of the other players.”

Klate and Hunt had some friction at one stage in the second half of last season‚ where the coach felt the player had slacked off.

“The coach is hard to please. With the schedule that we had‚ and so many games‚ you try to rest as much as possible‚ and manage yourself‚” Klate elaborated.

“Because the coach focuses on so many other factors and you‚ as a senior player‚ have to try and manage yourself as well.

“And sometimes towards the end of the season the injuries come too‚ and you tend to take your foot off the pedal because you’re trying to save yourself for the importance of the matches rather than the training.

“Gavin knows that I’m not a training player. I’m more ready for the weekends‚ especially at the end of the season. You have to stay fresh.

“And the coach also has to look at situations with injuries. The defence is becoming a problem because someone is suspended – like we had with Buhle (Mkhwanazi).

"So the coach’s head goes all over the place‚ and you as a senior player have to find your own way sometimes too.”

- TimesLIVE