Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter

IT has sent tongues wagging, others have even questioned his sexuality while some have gone to the extent of wondering if he had lost his mind.

Willard Katsande never used to dress like this.

And, even his sisters, agree.

His wife was once left concerned by his fashion taste, but she has since become used to it.

She is now her husband’s number one fashion fan.

The former Warriors captain, who is the skipper of Kaizer Chiefs has, of late, been the subject of social media discussions centred on the way he dresses.

From a doek, oversized pants, to torn shirts, Katsande has been trending on social media as often as he has received plaudits for his exploits on the field of play.

The midfielder, though, doesn’t care.

And, he doesn’t believe he has to apologise for the way he dresses because, as far as he is concerned, fashion is what defines him.

Let the people talk, say whatever they want, he tells himself, as long as he feels comfortable in what he does, then everything else doesn’t matter.

“Of course, my sisters in Harare sometimes feel uncomfortable, but I am glad they are slowly getting used to that,’’ he said.

“They know I love them and they love me too. They have been expressing reservations, but I am glad they have started to understand that I love fashion.

“I know, of late, I have been trending and I have no apologies because I know that, in terms of fashion, I am the best.

“Fashion is not about wearing expensive things, but it is about taste. Getting things that resonate well with your inner self.

Willard Katsande

“I am happy that about three-quarters of people who follow me on my social media space tell me I am the best.

“I am not arrogant, but I am just confident because I know how to select the type of clothes that fit me and I know how to mix and match the type of dressing I wear.

“I know how to dress and on what occasion. I am simply the best, so to say.”

The tough tackling midfield hardman, who is a cool character outside the pitch, says his love to showcase his fashion taste, on social media platforms, started when he sat down with his younger brother sometime last year.

“I sat down with my younger brother and decided to showcase my taste on the Internet,’’ he says.

“So, we decided that we would introduce what we termed ‘Saturday Swag’ whereby I would post every Saturday on my social media platforms.”

Katsande, who has notched 292 appearances for Kaizer Chiefs, said his love for fashion started when he was still plying his trade for local side Highway in Mutare.

“I love fashion. I am not trying to be showy. That’s how I express myself. You know, when I was still playing for Highway in Mutare, I would go to Sakubva market and buy my unique pieces.

“Everyone who has played in the same team with me knows that I love to dress well. The doek and the hat are signs of respect to my parents. The doek is for my mom who is late. She always spotted one when she was still alive.”

He said a lot of people are putting pressure him to consider modelling after he calls time on his playing career, but the midfield workhorse wants to pursue other avenues.

“I might be keen on fashion, but my future is nowhere near that field,’’ he said. “I have to enjoy my last days of playing football, give Kaizer Chiefs everything on the field before I eventually hang up my boots.

“I have already started earning my coaching badges.

“But, after retirement, well, I am not arrogant, but I won’t be poor again. I am considering a lot of things, but I will only reveal that when the time is ripe.”

Katsande is considered to be one of the most successful footballers who has heavily invested in his future.

He says he was not a very talented footballer at the beginning and, had it not been for his lion heart, he would have been forced to quit the game.

His parents, especially his mother, at one point even suggested he joined a certain security company.

The idea seemed to make sense, given the coaches who spent most of the time with him at the training grounds, always advised him to try out something.

They said Katsande’s chances of making it big as a footballer were slim given his apparent lack of talent.

“I admit that, in terms of talent, I was a bit limited,’’ he says. “But, I put everything into training and I eventually improved.

“It’s all about hard work. My mother wanted me to be a security guard, but I flatly refused.

“I wouldn’t blame her due to the circumstances we were in as a family.

“So many people discouraged me from pursuing my football dreams as I was not that talented.

“But, this is what hard work can do for a person. Before her death, I bought my mother a very beautiful house, which I probably wouldn’t have afforded had I accepted to be discouraged.

“That’s why I always spoil myself, and support my children’s dreams. Nothing beats hard work and a clear vision.”