Kaizer Chiefs won't underestimate Royal Eagles
“Not at all,” Middendorp said with frustration written all over his face.
The question wasn’t misplaced even though the German didn’t like it. Chiefs have been stunned by minnows a couple of times in the Nedbank Cup. Last year they were beaten by TS Galaxy, a team that was barely a year old and campaigning in the GladAfrica Championship. The biggest upset Chiefs suffered was at the hands of Baroka FC in 2011. Bakgaga were an amateur side then.
Royal Eagles, who languish at the bottom of the first division, will look at these stories for inspiration when they visit Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday in the last 32 of the Nedbank Cup.
With Chiefs’ rocky past against teams from the lower leagues, and the club’s desperation for silverware - Middendorp will not be taking any chances with the team that he will put out.
“Regarding the cup game, it’s not different at all regarding the preparations for a PSL game,” Middendorp said.
“We are not really taking it easy, just because we are meeting a team that’s fighting to stay in the NFD. Definitely not. We have been very busy with it, to look at Royal Eagles’ last three games because, as everybody knows, they have introduced a number of players. The results are obviously coming. I saw them myself when they were playing against Ajax Cape Town in Pietermaritzburg.”
Chiefs might sit at the summit of the Absa Premiership standings but they had a rocky start to 2020. They will be looking to use this match against Eagles to bring some stability.
“We had our issues, our challenges in the run of the season after having a break,” Middendorp said.
“We went for a different loading procedure. We lost against Polokwane City, played 1-1 against Maritzburg (United) in the league and lost to SuperSport United after the short break in the beginning of January.
“The team knows that we will not break the core of the team, meaning we are not going there with a freshened-up team. We stick to our core players we have used the entire season.”
That core group of players will include Khama Billiat, who is now fully fit, while goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune is likely to continue sitting on the bench behind Daniel Akpeyi who has had a brilliant season.
“Sometimes players must wait, they must wait for their opportunity whenever that is right,” Middendorp said.
“Sometimes you have to wait for months and maybe a season and then you get your chance. That’s what it is. The procedure is not very clear, just because there was a players who was good and fantastic and then all of a sudden should I take out Samir Nurkovic out and play somebody else?”