JOHANNESBURG — Kaizer Chiefs’ captain Bernard Parker says his focus is to help the team win their last few matches this season as his future at the club depends on the management, considering that his contract is expected to come to an end next month.
Parker has been at Chiefs for 10 years, after joining the club in 2011 from Dutch-side FC Twente. In his first five seasons, Parker won two league titles and two domestic trophies under coach Stuart Baxter. But since then, trophies have dried up.
Chiefs are currently experiencing a six-year trophy after winning their last trophy in 2015. In the recent weeks, there’s been an outcry from the supporters for a squad overhaul at the club – some saying veterans such as Parker have reached their expiry date.
Parker, though, has been the coaches’ favourite, last season under Ernst Middendorp and this term under Gavin Hunt. This is due to his vast experience and versatility to play in a number of positions – from defence, midfield to attack.
Parker is coy about his future as he’s on his last month in his Chiefs’ contract, although he has an option to renew. He says that he’ll wear his heart on his sleeve in the last few matches as he’s left it to the club management to decide his fate.
“Chiefs is forever in my heart. There’s the Black Label Cup that’s coming up. With football, even if you have a 10-year contract or one month contract you are still not safe. So, what I am doing now is focusing on one game at a time and doing my best,” he said.
“It’s up to the management to decide if they want to keep me. Chiefs is my family and I’ll definitely want to continue here. It’s exciting that the Black Label Cup is back. I am sure every player is excited that it’s back. We’ll see how it goes. I am just enjoying my football.”
The Carling Black Label Cup will return on July 31 after a one-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 outbreak. But the “Supporters’ Game” will lose some significance this year as it will be played behind closed doors – due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
But before that, Chiefs will hope to have cheered up their supporters by qualifying for the top-eight in the league and having achieved the improbable by winning the Champions League crown. Currently they are in the semifinals of the Pan-African competition.
They’ll face Wydad Casablanca in the last four. The two have already met in the competition, with Chiefs losing in the first game of the group stage before winning the return leg. The semifinals are expected to take place later next month, on June 18 and 25.