Ernst Middendorp chats to his assistant Shaun Bartlett. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Deemed as the “Cup Kings of South African football”, Kaizer Chiefs will be hoping to continue with the aspirations of reviving that prestigious tag when they travel to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium to face Chippa United in the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup on Saturday night.

It’s been three-and-a-half seasons since their last trophy, the PSL title, garnered at the club’s trophy cabinet in Naturena. Current incumbent Ernst Middendorp looks to be on track to bring back the smiles to the club’s discerning supporters as they are just two wins away from winning South Africa’s premier club knockout competition.

“I’ve repeatedly said it that there is pressure (to win something this season),” Middendorp said. “When teams start the games at zero points, you have to perform and win for a brand such as Kaizer Chiefs. That’s something that should have happened (but it didn’t then), but we should be able to manage it.

From the technical team, there’s a very psychic plan when you start at the beginning of the week, what you want to do and main contents going into a certain game.”

Following their 2-0 win over City, Amakhosi’s chances of winning the Nedbank Cup started to mount, but that subsequently took a strain on their league form - dropping five points against relegation threatened duo Baroka FC and Black Leopards. Those points dropped signalled the end of their chances to win the league title.

The German tactician, though, has endured challenges from the day he took charge of the first training session with the squad early in December as he has had to work with fringe players from the start due several players being out injured. As a result, he is adamant that if they had a clean bill of health, they would have doubled their efforts this season.

“You can’t talk about consistency. We have a lot of stuff that we are dealing with here,” Middendorp stated. “I am always repeating it, coming in December and having a number of players (injured).

We had to adhere to that, find other solutions and the type of players - that are talented and play on instincts. Players that are responsible and play to the benefit of the team.”

Ever since being hit by several injuries coupled with mistakes, Chiefs’ attacking and defensive departments have been in shambles - a huge factor that could have improved their chances of challenging for the league title.


The Star

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