Former Kaizer Chiefs star explains how playing with Bafana Bafana legends negatively affected his game

The ex-defender has revealed the detrimental effect of his transfer to Naturena 13 years ago\

Former Kaizer Chiefs star Keegan Ritchie has admitted he made a move to the Soweto giants at a time when he was not ready for the weight of expectations.

Ritchie played for Pirates between 2011 and 2014, having joined as a 20-year-old from Moroka Swallows, and while he enjoyed wearing the gold and black jersey, he felt intimidated by those he found at the club, effecting his overall output as a result.

He singled out Bafana Bafana legends Siphiwe Tshabalala, Reneilwe Letsholonyane, Siboniso Gaxa, and Tshepo Masilela, who had featured at the 2010 World Cup, as some of the big names that made him feel timid.

“I enjoyed being at Chiefs but not as much though because I think I was a bit young at 20,” Ritchie told FARPost.

“You’re joining the club; you see the Shabbas, the Yeyes, the Gaxas, the Tshepo Masilelas and the Khunes.

‘I would have spent more time at Swallows’

“You’re a young player, and you saw these guys who played the World Cup, and you’re like…so you’re intimidated.”

Ritchie is of the opinion that he was not ready for such a big move early in his career as it contributed to a not so successful spell in Naturena.

“If I could go back, I would have spent more time at Swallows and sign for [Chiefs] a bit later when I’m more mature,” added Ritchie. “Going onto the field with [Chief] superstars, I felt like who am I kind of thing.

“The club is huge, and people expect a lot from players. Coming to a club like Chiefs, for me it was just that, dealing with that pressure. If I probably went there later in my career, probably at 22 or 23; I think I would have done a lot better.”

Failed to make the grade in second Chiefs spell

Richie made 28 league appearances in his three years at Chiefs before moving to Slavia Prague in the Czech Republic in 2014.

He would return to Chiefs in 2015 but still failed to make the grade, featuring just six times, after arriving from Bloemfontein Celtic, before spells at SuperSport United, Bidvest Wits, Swallows and Maritzburg United.

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Joel Oliver

Joel Oliver is a seasoned multimedia sports journalist with a rich background in covering diverse football stories and events in South Africa and beyond.

His extensive coverage spans subjects touching on the PSL, with a focus on the Big Three (Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs & Mamelodi Sundowns), Bafana Bafana and Banyana Banyana.