Kaizer Chiefs interim coach Cavin Johnson is banking on the experience of the returning Itumeleng Khune to help in preparing the players ahead of the hugely anticipated Soweto Derby on Saturday. 

Khune’s suspension was recently lifted after being on the sidelines since December. The former captain has played in 28 derbies and also featured in the 1-0 defeat to Pirates in the first round of the campaign.

Johnson is adamant the return of Khune will be a massive boost in the dressing room as he is an experienced member of the squad.

“Yeah, Itu has come back and we are welcoming him back. And for sure, I think he’s got a lot to do as far as putting the changeroom together at this particular moment, because of the derby, he’s got, I think maybe more than 20 under his belt.

“So he brings that little bit of extra energy, but he also brings that little bit of calmness, with his experience into the dressing room and to the players group to make sure that they mentally prepared,” Johnson told journalists during the media briefing.

Johnson believes mental edge may be the difference in the game as some players have never played in a fully-packed stadium before.

“Because physically, we know the players should be ready. Tactically, we’re going to do the best we can. Technically, they don’t play for Kaizer Chiefs and not be technically good. So all those things taking into consideration, yes we are we are ready.

“But the biggest time is mentally for me. It’s a mental game. You probably haven’t played in front of 90,000 for a long time.

“It’s unlike when you play in the Bundesliga or Serie A where stadiums are always full. We don’t have that 90,000 often but 90,000 in gold in black or black and white together, it’s a different scenario,” Johnson added.

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